Evidence & Imagination
Viola Yeşiltaç, Jason Loebs and John Roebas

Curated by Dr. Anne Luther

April 23 – May 6, 2017
Opening Reception: Sunday, April 23, 2017, 18:00 - 20:00

Kesselhaus, Berlin
Schlesischestr. 38
10997 Berlin (The Kesselhaus is located in the third courtyard)
Opening hours: Thu - Sun, noon - 19:00, and by appointment.

Memories of episodes are tied to autobiographical experiences and form our inner subjectivity, the way we see and feel things. The repetitions of the past we encounter again and again internally are multimedial. Our memories can be pictorial scenes much like a movie, sounds and sound color, or odors and above all emotions. Memory shapes our every day and gives it meaning because it brings the past into the present and lends it substance and essence, it allows for appropriate action as well as an orientation towards the future. Without memories reference to the world would be missing and we could not exist as an integrated personality - certainly not in a community, which always has its history. Events that have been experienced frequently and similarly merge with time into a mental schema and can then often no longer be recalled as a single memory but rather as an assimilation of our perception as something known. Nevertheless repetitive elements from an experienced past (memory) differ from the knowledge about past events, that is often tied to material evidence, such as the archive, photographs or recordings of some sort. The works in the exhibition embrace the intersection between evidence and imagination and stress the difficulties that emerge in the space in between. The works are closely tight together with differing levels of the powers of recollection: autobiographical, segmented and constitutional.

The sound work by John Roebas developed with collaborator Brian Goodhart recreates episodes of every day life pierced with sounds far from the present. Compiling, and compressing field recordings and samples of existence over the last four to five years, the work invites us to an intimate search for the past that is inherent to every step he takes. His autobiography is used as structure and a framework for understanding in this 4-channel sound work: born in Honduras, a child adopted to a Greek Orthodox family from the US. He only recollects in early-childhood memories of sounds, smells, the touch of skin and hair - tactile experience of a non-age, before words, before thought and before self. Tinted by his current subjectivity the sound work reconstructs memories of a body that is clearly in motion, listening to the heart beat of an unborn baby, hymns of a cantor, idling machinery, keys opening doors, foot steps, deep breathes and the other. The differing sounds and channels merge into the perception of a sound schema - they become volume as they construct the architecture of memory.  

Viola Yeşiltaç projects black and white barricades on the brick stonewalls of the boiler room. Born into a German-Turkish family in the 1970s she was confronted with many obstacles and obstructions finding identity as an offspring in a country that still tries to forget a long standing history with the cultural identity of her father. Comfortably forgetting a past is something that we see in a continental consciousness about national and cultural understanding. One of these forgotten pasts is the cheap labor (Gastarbeiter) that Turkey has brought to Germany since 1961, which still leaves around 2.5 million people with Turkish heritage in a state of more or less cultural non-integration. Her photographs depict literal barricades that her father built in an act of autonomy to protect a public site from being used in front of his house in Turkey. This gesture of an autonomous decision, a peculiar act shows that he understood the land, which belongs to the city, as a place where he can exercise his "right", a radical act coming from a person that was confronted with a harsh alienation and experiences of rejection, even in his family and community. Viola Yeşiltaç’s personal memory and a suggested politically charged public memory lead her to question a sense of subjectivity that mirrors a perfect “picture”.

For the development of the installation Private Matters at Essex Street Gallery in New York, Jason Loebs assembled a volume of research material about three urban sites seized through eminent domain (that is, private land expropriated for public use): Fort Trumbull, Essex Crossing, and Hudson Yards. The complexity of each case, the sheer volume of the multimedia gives evidence to the bulk of individual pieces that made it possible for property to be taken by private corporation authorized to exercise the functions of public character. The precondition for the resulting body of work were taken from online archives that capitalize from the supply of media for example by selling TV subscriptions, stock photography and others. Although "there's no law that says definitively what images are worth in the digital age” [Oscar Michelen, 2009] media agencies and distributors are saveguarding their property by deciding from case to case to sue or demand images to be taken down if a person infringes images that they own. The legal yet vague principle they use for their decision is whether the “infringing use has good intentions”. Virtual property is taken by private corporations with the argued intention to secure public use by paying their authors, photographers and other content providers. The artist acted in a gesture of autonomous decision to use the material displayed here in good intentions to unravel the complexity of exactly this relationship: the authority of private corporations in public life.  


Viola Yeşiltaç (b, 1975, Germany) lives and works in New York and Cologne. Past exhibitions include: David Lewis, New York; Fondazione Brodbeck, Catania; C L E A R I N G, Brussels; DJCAD Cooper Gallery, University of Dundee; Kunstverein Langenhagen. She has been included in group exhibitions such as, 30th São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; Extra Kunsthall Antwerp; The Kitchen, New York; Lévy Gorvy, New York; Rodeo, Istanbul; Jaqueline Martins, São Paulo and Museum Folkwang Essen amongst many others.

Jason Loebs (b. 1981, USA) lives and works in New York. Past exhibitions include: Audio Visual Arts, New York, Galerie Perrotin, Paris; Bortolami Gallery, New York; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; NJMOCA, New Jersey; Harris Lieberman, New York; loop-raum für aktuelle kunst, Berlin; Artists Space, New York; Milwaukee International, Milwaukee; CUNY Graduate Center, New York.

John Roebas (b. 1985, Honduras) lives and works in New York. Past exhibitions include: Tile Project Space, Milan; Levy Delval, Brussels & Los Angeles (personale); Lyles & King, New York (personale); Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana (courtesy Neochrome Gallery), Turin; Jack Hanley Gallery, New York; Middlemarch, Brussels; Bodega, Philadelphia; Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland; Centre D'Action Culturelle, Niort.


For further information or directions please contact Anne Luther: contact@anneluther.info I 0163 3429249