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Post hoc 2019

Cell tower pine trees, each comprising: galvanised steel, mild steel, aluminium, plastic, two Raspberry Pi, two hard drives, speaker, acoustic insulation, range booster, electrical components, electrical cabling.
Dimensions variable

Dane Mitchell is interested in things that no longer exist. His tree-like radio masts transmit lists compiled by the artist of lost and extinct entities. The lists are enumerated by an electronic voice and are transmitted by two antennae hidden in artificial trees, normally employed to conceal telecommunications infrastructure. Post hoc highlights the implications associated with loss and extinction.

Select wifi-network ‘posthoc' and load to find Mitchell’s lists of lost things.

ÜberNatur marks the 10th iteration of the biannual KölnSkulptur exhibition of contemporary outdoor sculpture. Eight new works have been added to the Skulpturenpark Köln this year. Inspired by the location of the public park – wedged between the Rhine, the Cologne Zoo, the Flora and the adjacent Botanical Garden – as curator of this year’s KölnSkulptur, artworks have been commissioned or selected that engage with notions of nature and initiate dialogue with the natural environment.

KölnSkulptur #10 opens amid a devastating global pandemic, triggered by a rare spillover of a virus from wild animals to humans. Facilitated by ever-closer connections between disparate parts of the world as a result of globalisation, the virus has rampaged like wildfire across the planet, infecting millions of people.

The ‘new normal’ created by this global pandemic is causing us to view the world from novel perspectives; art and exhibitions of art are not exempt from such new interrogations. It is now of the utmost urgency that we raise awareness of the network of interconnections between striving for economic growth and globalisation and the devastating impact these can have on our natural environment. At the same time, we must not forget the visionary power of art and its ability to forge new ideas and sense-forms – not to mention its ability to refer to the ineffable beyond the relentless logic of utility and human efficiency.

Size does not define the significance of sculptural work. Sometimes small gestures can have a large impact, as can be seen in the current pandemic. Some of the works shown at KölnSkulptur #10 diverge from the expected scale of outdoor sculpture. Smaller and often barely perceptible pieces allow visitors to engage with the world at a microcosmic level, but also to widen their focus out to the larger, more unpredictable, macrocosm, in which we live.


ÜberNatur questions the monumentality of outdoor sculptures. The exhibition thus oscillates between the smallest work by Ayşe Erkmen and the largest by Dane Mitchell. Erkmen’s contribution consists of a replica of Lonely George, a Hawaiian tree snail, the last of its species, which died in 2019 after scientists spent fourteen years unsuccessfully trying to find it a mate. Mitchell’s work features two artificial trees designed to camouflage mobile data antennae and surveillance equipment, originally mass-produced in China. This piece has been imported for KölnSkulptur #10 from last year’s Venice Biennale, where it was exhibited in the context of New Zealand’s national pavilion.


At KölnSkulptur #10, visitors will encounter works that touch upon fundamental issues of birth, emergence, growth and decay, works that address both the microcosmic and macrocosmic levels of existence and that weave together diverse viewpoints to create complex connections – allowing us to sense and think with, and beyond, nature.


The crux of today’s ‘new normal’ is the need for communication, understanding and negotiation. Mary Bauermeister’s sculpture, Rübezahl, should, therefore, be read as the nucleus of KölnSkulptur #10. It offers visitors a place to sit and somewhere to reflect and contemplate. It opens up a space where taking one’s time and care and attentiveness have value, a space where nature can take hold.


Tobias Berger

Curator KölnSkulptur #10

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