Bethanien (Projektraum) Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Opening Saturday 09.02.2019
Performance of Kazuki Nakahara and Ayaka Azechi, Saturday 09.02.2019
Exhibition 10.02.2019 – 14.02.2019

An exhibition of works by Tania Bedriñana, Kui Soon Park, So Young Park, Sun Ju Kim, Sung-Hoon Yu, Hong Wonseok, Tomoko Mori, Kazuki Nakahara and Ayaka Azechi

Photography: Sebastian Schobbert, Mathew Murphy

photos exhibition views:

The exhibition The ahh-ness of things takes as its point of departure the multifaceted notion of “mono no aware”, a Japanese aesthetic concept that translates plainly as “the pathos of things”. This expression of thought was first articulated in Heian period literature (794 to 1185), but over subsequent centuries has become an all but ubiquitous component of contemporary Japanese cultural thought and tradition. Given its deeply intricate and philosophical makeup, one could venture to refer to mono no aware as an inner mood or feeling, privileging a special type of emotional connection to our surroundings and the occurrences of daily life. In this way, it cannot simply be understood as “the pathos of things” or “awareness of environment”, but is linked to a complex uderstanding of ephemerality and the acceptance of impermanence. Within a philosophical framework such as this, there is a dynamic present that is neither overtly positive or negative, but a space that is emotionally navigated by a connection or understanding of a “middle ground” of sorts, in which a situation or circumstance can be simultaneously celebrated yet imbued with melancholy. It is within this structure that the artists included in The ahh-ness of things explore the world around and in us, utilizing painting, sculpture, video, drawing and performance to highlight both the connection and the dependency between beauty and a sense of fleetingness.

Although the nine artists included in the exhibition come from diverse locations around the world, the associated works begin to develop connections and establish a dialog with each other, building and elaborating on the prevailing theme in their own individual manner. Explorations of seemingly dichotomous subjects such as power and vulnerability, shame and satisfaction, isolation and contentment, stability and volatility, or intention and coincidence all interweave to present to the viewer a unique means to understand and interpret both the inner and outer landscapes that the artists present to us. Through the observation of these works, the viewer can begin to make deeper connections between themselves and our wide-ranging cultural systems, revealing and commenting on various themes and beliefs that influence and drive our existence. The exhibition speaks to many subjects from the intensely personal to the overtly political, all with a certain quietness or calmness paired with a sense of movement or action. This can manifest itself in an aesthetic and material presence—in the physical nature of the works themselves—and in metaphoric possibilities, the manner in which we interpret and internalize the inherent themes and subjects contained therein. As a result, we are left to contemplate the space between these binary propositions, and subtly embrace the gentle sadness of things.

Kris Douglas