Karen Russo – »Haus Atlantis«

Große Kunstschau
19 June to 23 October 2016

The London based Israeli born artist Karen Russo (* 1974) works primarily in film and drawings. Relics of forgotten or obscure moments in history or culture are the raw material which informs her work. Using documentary material and fictional narratives she explores how knowledge, perception, and culture intertwine the rational with the obscure.

Karen Russo’s exhibition at the Große Kunstschau was developed together with the Künstlerhäuser Worpswede. The exhibition includes two new film commissions and a series of drawings which relate to Bernhard Hoetger’s work.

Russo’s new experimental films deal with the complex overlapping of artistic ideas, irrationality and nationalism in Hoetger’s work. Haus Atlantis (2016) is set in the famed building of the same name designed by Hoetger in 1931 in Bremen’s Böttcherstraße, where Nordic mythology and futuristic architecture intertwine. Blending documentary, archeological essays and science fiction, the film examines a social consciousness in transit between a collapsed past and utopian future.

TET-Stadt (2016) includes a recreation of a model of TET-Stadt – an unrealized utopian urban project from 1917 conceived by the biscuit manufacturer Hermann Bahlsen and designed by Hoetger. This massive industrial and residential development in Hannover was meant to house the operations and employees of the Bahlsen company, with all the buildings based on ancient Egyptian architecture. Russo shot footage inside the model, which is juxtaposed with excerpts from the 1939 propaganda film Germanen gegen Pharonen which compares the Germans to the Pharoahs.

Alongside these two films, Russo will present a new series of charcoal drawings which incorporate images of historical monuments, sculptures and architectural works, together with fictitious and sci-fi elements. By inviting us to reflect on the power of cultural archetypes in our contemporary context, the exhibition explores the idea of historical mistranslation and presents a meditation on irrationality and nationalism through the legacy of Expressionism.

Russo developed the exhibition, a contemporary examination of the works of Bernard Hoetger, in cooperation with the Künstlerhauser Worpswede to coincide with the major summer exhibition »Bernard Hoetger and the Expressionists« in the Große Kunstchau.

Exhibition opening in the Große Kunstschau: Sun, 19 June 2016, 11:30 a.m..

More Informations about Karen Russo

Künstlerhäuser Worpswede
Martin Kausche-Ateliers
Vor den Pferdeweiden 16–18


Illustration: Karen Russo, »Haus Atlantis« film still, 2016.