Review of 2020 - A year of encounters, despite everything

HMKV blickt zurück auf das Ausnahmejahr 2020

The year 2020 will be remembered at HMKV as a year of very special encounters, despite the pandemic-related temporary closures. This is primarily due to the collaborative exhibition project Faţadă/Façade, which opened in October 2020.


The exhibition, which builds on the Interkultur Ruhr project of the same name, sheds light on the little-known phenomenon of Roma building culture and was realised together with members of Dortmund's Roma community. "Working on the project together, especially during the weeks of the construction phase when we literally transformed our floor together here in the Dortmunder U, was the highlight of the year for us," says HMKV director Dr. Inke Arns.


Although Faţadă/Façade had to close again due to the second lockdown at the beginning of November, barely a week after its opening, numerous visitors were nevertheless able to view the almost 20 house models inspired by Roma building culture, while complying with hygiene regulations, and learn about the context and history of the ongoing discrimination against Roma in the reading area.


In the hope that it will be possible to visit exhibitions again in 2021, Faţadă/Fassade has been extended until 11 April 2021. Information on the date of reopening will be posted on the HMKV website.


Digital formats have been developed for the accompanying program for Faţadă/Fassade, such as a podcast by Olga Felker. The first season of the podcast with four episodes is already available online and sheds light on the background of the exhibition in conversations with the project participants. A second season is in preparation for 2021.


The year 2020 began with the international group exhibition Artists & Agents - Performance Art and Secret Services, which had opened in October 2019. The high number of visitors and the continuing interest of the press spoke for themselves. Artists & Agents highlighted the multi-layered interaction between intelligence services and performance artists – and the occasionally blurred border between the two. Due to the first lockdown, the exhibition was moved to the web, where the HMKV made further impressions and backgrounds of the exhibition available in videos and podcasts (Artists & Agents Online).


Some of the events accompanying Artists & Agents that had to be cancelled in the spring due to the pandemic were made up for in the fall – to great success: the unique Spy School (September 19+20) by Croatian theater director Tea Tupajić, in which participants learned some tricks from the toolbox of skills of secret service agents, as well as the Crypto Workshop on online security with Digitalcourage e.V. (September 10+17), an online format which reached an all-time HMKV record high with over 160 participants.


Already in spring 2020, the HMKV management made an early decision to postpone the entire HMKV 2020 program by six months. Travel restrictions affected several project participants traveling from Romania, so the opening of Faţadă/Façade had to be postponed until October. Spontaneous rescheduling was thus made for the summer: Inke Arns conceived the exhibition 25 of 78 for the reopening of the Dortmunder U in June, a kind of "best-of" of the ongoing HMKV Video of the Month series that has been running since 2014. 25 of 78 opened on June 2 and was on view until September 20, 2020. The year 2020 therefore also offered the HMKV the opportunity to revisit its own exhibition history and to re-encounter works by many artists, many of whom are likely old acquaintances for HMKV fans, such as Hito Steyerl, Morehshin Allahyari, Magdalena von Rudy, Abner Preis, Fabian Bechtle, Ulu Braun, Taus Makhacheva, NEOZOON, Laure Prouvost, Clemens von Wedemeyer, and many more. The exhibition magazine documents not only the exhibition itself, but the entire six years of the HMKV Video of the Month series.


Due to the closure during the first lockdown, the HMKV Videos of the Month are also being shown online on the HMKV website since April 2020: "We have thus created a new ongoing online art format that we are now maintaining," says Inke Arns. Since 2014 – for six years now – the HMKV Video of the Month series has been offering a platform for current video works by international media artists in a quickly changing format apart from the major exhibitions.


A new cooperation arose for the HMKV in 2020 in the collaboration with the Dortmund publishing house Verlag Kettler. All HMKV magazines are published and distributed exclusively by the publishing house.


The year 2020 closes for HMKV not only with the anticipation of the Beuys anniversary year 2021, in the context of which the exhibition Technoshamanism (opening 08 October 2021) is being prepared, but also with further good news for the medium-term future: The Ruhr region has been chosen as the venue for the European Nomadic Biennale Manifesta in 2026 thanks to the commitment of renowned cultural figures from the region.



Reda the full press release.

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