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Exhibition of works by 23 international artists explores the theme of waiting
Tobias Zielony (*1973), Lee + Chunk, 2000. Aus der Serie Car Park. Fotografie, C-Print, 41,6 x 62,4 cm. Courtesy of KOW, Berlin © Tobias Zielony.

HAMBURG.- The Hamburger Kunsthalle is addressing for the first time in a large-scale exhibition a theme that is as universal as it is complex, and one that is of particular relevance to today’s society: WAITING. Between Power and Possibility. Works by 23 international artists are on view in the Gallery of Contemporary Art and various other locations both inside and outside the museum. In a continuation of the exhibition Fail Better (2013), which attracted widespread interest and international recognition, the Kunsthalle is now exploring a curiously anachronistic phenomenon in our fast-paced modern society, which is driven by a compulsive need for instant gratification.

Waiting is unpleasant, stressful and costly. It lays bare the power structures behind social systems, functioning as an indicator of social standing and status: first-class passengers enjoy priority check-in at the airport and privately insured patients shorter waiting times to see a doctor while asylum seekers are helpless to speed up the application process. People in a position of power and privilege do not wait; they keep others waiting.

In our world today, where everything seems to be available to us anytime, anywhere, patience and forbearance are virtues that have apparently gone out of style. Filling every spare moment with consumption while compulsively checking our smartphones, we no longer see time spent waiting as an opportunity for reflection and mindfulness. And yet the ability to bide our time and act based not on immediate exigencies but future prospects is a cultural achievement that – as shown by the famous Marshmallow Tests in the 1970s – empowers us to lead confident, successful and socially competent lives.

Artists are able to express particularly vividly the concept of waiting as a moment of pausing to think and consider, an idle interlude that is a pre-condition for any form of creativity. In the exhibition WAITING., artists ranging from Vajiko Cha-chkhiani and David Claerbout to Ursula Schulz-Dornburg and Tobias Zielony demonstrate diverse approaches to this theme in performances, sculptures, photographs, films and installations. Some of these compelling works are on loan directly from the artists’ studios while others were created especially for the exhibition. With this broad spectrum of artistic positions, new and unexpected art viewing experiences a-wait.

Participating artists: Vajiko Chachkhiani, David Claerbout, Andrea Diefenbach, Elmgreen & Dragset, Jakob Engel, Ceal Floyer, Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Duane Hanson, Jiří Kovanda, Jochen Kuhn, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Bruce Nauman, Roman Ondak, Tobias Rehberger, Michael Sailstorfer, Txema Salvans, Philip Scheffner / Merle Kröger, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, Aleen Solari, Rayyane Tabet, Jens Ullrich, Tobias Zielony.

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