Arghavan Khosravi in that other world, the world of the teapot. tenderness, a model: Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, Germany
“Tenderness personalizes everything to which it relates, making it possible to give it a voice, to give it the space and the time to come into existence, and to be expressed.”
that other world, the world of the teapot, is the world the writer and the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate Olga Tokarczuk is longing for. In her Nobel Lecture, the author recalls Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of a teapot, broken by the people's awkwardness and their carelessness, and immediately disposed of and rejected.
Tokarczuk writes about her childhood world of fairy tales, inhabited by talking objects and nature manifesting its own existence and life. That's that other world, an enigmatic Raumgeist, an Aleph, where the entire visible and invisible world is combined in a utopian harmony and bond, whereas our world is a disconnected, lifeless expanse, colonized by loneliness and failure. To evoke that other world Tokarczuk advocates tenderness as a magical means thanks to which the misjudged and ignored teapot starts to talk.
“Tenderness, writes the author, personalizes everything to which it relates, making it possible to give it a voice, to give it the space and the time to come into existence, and to be expressed.” She praises tenderness as the art of personifying, of sharing feelings, and thus endlessly discovering similarities; (it) “is the most modest form of love. It is the kind of love that does not appear in the scriptures or the gospels, no one swears by it, no one cites it. It has no special emblems or symbols, nor does it lead to crime, or prompt envy.
That world, the world of tenderness, “the conscious, though perhaps slightly melancholy, common sharing of fate”, asks for a new host, a new kind of narrator which Olga Tokarczuk identifies as a “fourth-person” one, the one “who manages to encompass the perspective of each of the characters, as well as having the capacity to step beyond the horizon of each of them, who sees more and has a wider view, and who is able to ignore time.”
Such a mysterious narrator is a tender narrator, the one who masters “a perspective from where everything can be seen. Seeing everything means recognizing the ultimate fact that all things that exist are mutually connected into a single whole, even if the connections between them are not yet known to us. Seeing everything also means a completely different kind of responsibility for the world, because it becomes obvious that every gesture ‘here’ is connected to a gesture ‘there’, that a decision taken in one part of the world will have an effect in another part of it, and that differentiating between ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ starts to be debatable.” Tender narrator is a conscious homo empathicus, who practices critical intimacy and considers tenderness as a tool and “a way of looking that shows the world as being alive, living, interconnected, cooperating with, and codependent on itself.”
The exhibition that other world, the world of the teapot. tenderness, a modelis a search for such a tender narrator. As a manifesto of sorts, it is a portrait of tenderness as a desired, possible modus operandi for the world in an ontological crisis and doubt, its emergency alphabet of vulnerability, endurance and resilience. From Alice Neel, Francis Picabia, and Maria Lassnig through Valie Export, Cecilia Edefalk, Sharon Lockhart and Shannon Ebner down to Joana Escoval, Enrico David, Pamela Rosenkranz, and many others, this is a cross-generational poetic landscape of tenderness as a transgressive, polyphonic tool of change and reinvention, a “spontaneous and disinterested” agent of care and concern, a model for the radical ethics in precarious times of reduced immunity and mistrust.
ARTISTS IN THIS EXHIBITION
Alexander Archipenko, Hans Arp, Lenora de Barros, Hans Bellmer, Renate Bertlmann, Ellen Cantor, Enrico David, Shannon Ebner, Cecilia Edefalk, Joana Escoval, Cerith Wyn Evans, Valie Export, Spencer Finch, Johan Grimonprez, Asta Gröting, Heide Hinrichs, Peter Hujar, Dorothy Iannone, Grethe Jürgens, Nikita Kadan, Arghavan Khosravi, Jakob Lena Knebl, Dominique Knowles, Jutta Koether, Käthe Kollwitz, Maria Lassnig, Fernand Léger, Jochen Lempert, Barbara Levittoux-Świderska, Yong Xiang Li, Sharon Lockhart, Louise Nevelson, Alice Neel, Kayode Ojo, Daniel Otero Torres, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Ewa Partum, Francis Picabia, Pamela Rosenkranz, Erna Rosenstein, Hans Savery II, Francesco Solimena, Friedrich Schröder Sonnenstern, Fabien Vallos, Edmund de Waal