Why tidy my exhibition space when the whole world is in a mess?

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© Courtesy of the artist & Künstlerhaus Bethanien
Why tidy my exhibition space when the whole world is in a mess?

Kottbusser Straße 10
10997 Berlin
January 18th, 2013 - February 10th, 2013
Opening: January 17th, 2013 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Tue - Sun, 2 - 7 pm


Sharon Houkema’s artistic work belongs in the field of environment, in which a link is generated between the world of ideas and the real world.

In her latest project, the title of which – Why tidy my exhibition space when the whole world is in a mess? – takes up and adapts a Greenpeace slogan, Houkema directs her attention towards the idea of environmental conservationand the associated social and political movement. She illuminates environmentalism from artistic vantage points by focusing on the images and narrative structures that it employs.

For her exhibition project in Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Houkema collected campaign material and corresponding items of clothing from conservational activists, as well as ‘green’, i.e. recycled or in the broadest sense ecologically correct, products from all spheres. She then arranged the stickers, coffee mugs, items of clothing and toys from the past decades and the present day into an exhibition. Despite the sad relevance of the theme in face of today’s climate problems, the spatial installation – which is reminiscent, as a whole, of a not very tidy but exclusively ecologically furnished home situation –also encompasses humorous and nostalgic aspects.It is likely to raise a wide range of questions for the viewerdue to the different, sometimes conflicting messages of these objects grouped by the artist according to purely formal criteria. As in all her works, in this new project the artist is concerned with the question of the perspective from which things are regarded, something that changes according to our own position, and also with the way in which formal conditions – inboth a concrete and metaphorical sense – are able to change the meaning of a narrative or a statement.


Sharon Houkema, born in Drachten, Netherlands in 1975, lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin.

International working residences incl.inthe El Eco Museo Experimental, Mexico City; at Viafarini, Milan, and at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. Exhibitions incl.: White Box, New York;Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam; Fact Liverpool and La Casa Encendida, Madrid.

Sharon Houkema is currently receiving a grant from the Mondriaan Fonds;she is a guest atKünstlerhaus Bethanien in the context of our International Studio Programme.