Heading for a land of eternal sunshine

An exhibition by

Nina Wengel (DK) and Annika Unterburg (DE)

at xpon-art Hamburg

from March 16th to 30th 2017

(opening March 16th at 8pm)


Heading for a land of eternal sunshine is an exhibition with Nina Wengel (DK) and Annika Unterburg (DE) at Xpon-art in Hamburg curated by Tijana Miskovic (Ex YU / DK).

The exhibition is a visual dialog between the artists and focuses on the notion of time and language, through the use of repetitions.

When used artistically repetitions stop being a practical method and become an eternal process; they become rituals. With the time these rituals do not only become an embedded part of the artistic praxis but also a grammar for the artistic language.

Nina Wengel shows a series of paintings with a repetitive sunset motif. Almost like a pattern the motif is painted in different sizes and on different materials such as wood, plastic, and cardboard. The many sunsets clearly show that her artistic production is driven by a certain kind of necessity that we cannot see an end to.

On a symbolic level the sunsets have a beautiful and romantic connotation, but looking at the almost manic quantity the sunsets get darker connotations like trauma or death. The sunset can be a symbol of a day or a life ending..

Annika Unterburg shows a series of “bildobjekte” and a sculpture. Most of the works have fishing baits mounted on a painted color surface. A fishing bait is both an attractive and deadly object. In her works, Annika Unterburg examines the relationship between the beautiful, understood as the good, and the evil. Something threatening is at stake in her works, which we can sense for instance in the color black used in her paintings. There is something menacing in the tension that develops while waiting for the fish to bite. One is waiting for the moment that will mark the fish’s transition from life to death. There are two different time perceptions at stake in this waiting: the more meditative circular sense of time, like in meditation and the more linear that belongs to the strategic thinking.

The philosopher and linguist Per Aage Brandt explains in one of his theories that the human language related to imagination was developed by fishing women

“To fish (without sailing) is especially a matter of standing in the water and waiting, and then, when conscious actions reflect themselves mimetically and readably, the focus will necessarily be intentionally on the absent object – the fish-  as the subject for the waiting.” In other words, our ability to create images of something that does not exist, rather, to relate to abstractions as a communication method, is associated with the act of waiting. In Annika Unterburg’s works, the waiting is connected to the fish while it in Nina Wengel’s relates to the sun or the new day and not least, the hope; the belief that there is a reason to go on.

During the installation of artworks, the two artists have been collaborating in order to create a single, space-related, exhibition connected to the characteristics of the exhibition venue. The raw aesthetics of the xpon-art space and the partially ghostly atmosphere, support the concept of the exhibition: Something that is absent but still communicative, something that seems threatening as much because of its beauty as its dark side; Something that builds bridges between different perceptions of time.



Oh, what a beautiful eternity By Nina Wengel Paintings in various sizes on various materials, GONE, Nicolai kunst og design, Kolding, Denmark, 2016


Oh, what a beautiful eternity By Nina Wengel Mural painting, Crepúsculo con Queso// Twilight with Cheese, Cristo Salvador, Havana, Cuba, 2016


Oh, what a beautiful eternity By Nina Wengel Paintings in various sizes on various materials, Following Eternity, Ikast Kunstpakhus, Denmark, 2014


Illusionist By Annika Unterburg Canvas on wood, hooks, binder, 30x24x4cm, 2015, Foto: Annika Unterburg


But I am the Tiger (Jorge Luis Borges) By Annika Unterburg Hook, ceramic, 30x24x4cm, 2015

Practical information:

Exhibition venue: xpon-art, Respoldstraße 45, 20097 Hamburg

Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday 12-18.00, Monday-Tuesday 18-21.00

For more information about the exhibition please contact the exhibition curator Tijana Miskovic by email: tijana.miskovic@gmail.com or xpone-art curator and manager Anne Simone Krüger anne_simone_krueger@yahoo.de.

Related links:

Press images (in both low and high resolution) can be downloaded on following link:

The exhibition is realized with support from Danish Arts Council


The necessity for questioning the structure


by Tijana Mišković


Ideally, the artists should have an important position in our society as free and independent minds that can produce vital reflections about sociopolitical conditions of the time we live in. Unfortunately many times artists’ critical and important reflections are being used or misused for other purposes such as promotion of products, gentrification, and cultural colonialism. In that case, the unique role of the artist, as the one independently and critically reflecting our society, becomes a simplified and bounded function with a purpose and task dictated by others. The only way the artist can avoid that his/ her role becomes a function is by constantly questioning the structures his or her art is being presented within. Biennales and big-scale exhibitions like Documenta should, as the most influential contemporary art structures, be a natural object for investigation.

Documenta is considered to be a Vatican of contemporary art today, carried by a belief in the critical potential of art. Documenta promotes itself as the optimal art platform for critical thinking and political postures, which is why decision makers and intelligentsia of the art world, pilgrimage to Documenta in search of latest tendencies. Documenta and other big art events such as Venice Biennale have thus an enormous international impact and a great power to influence the public opinion. This influence should be evaluated by participating artists as well as the audience, who should not only absorb the messages communicated to them through the curatorial strategies, without being skeptical about their motivation. They should not fall asleep but be critical and constantly question the structure.

A show labeled as “critic show” can give the public a feeling of being critical, but it can, at the same time, be drawing the public attention away from big and serious issues that authorities don’t want to create critic around. There could be a diversion taking place in the curatorial choose.

A delay in contemporary art could also be seen as a diversion strategy. Even though we believe that the contemporary artists should react on the important issues and emergencies of today’s world, we are not giving the artists appropriate platforms for immediate expression and impact in time. The artists cannot show art connected with the pulsing and unpredictable present, since all the exhibited artworks have to be defined, produced, and explained in advance. Either because of the practical and curatorial planning or because of a wish to control and have a possibility to censure, most of the contemporary exhibitions are from the beginning in delay.

A “critic show” can thus be a setting for fake criticism that gives us an illusion of being critique and having the freedom of thinking when we, in reality, are directed in a certain direction controlled by external forces and often interests of economic or political nature.

This fake criticism within the contemporary art today could be the source of apathy in our society. If the lack of real concern or interest in making a change infiltrates the art community, and what we consider to be the avant-garde force in our society falls asleep, we might risk that our world takes a direction of narrow-minded and almost totalitarian thinking.


Since 1988, Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL has been questioning big staged art events like biennales, art fairs, and Documenta, with critical art formats such as BIENNALIST – an art format that responds to and questions, through artworks the motivations of biennials and other global art events. He looks into the art events and their motivations asking questions such as: Could 860,000 visitors have been intoxicated by an apathetic gaze that keeps them away from reacting? Are global art events designed to make people cry about something in order not to make them see something else? Is there a strategy for being delayed in order to create a distraction from the present and avoid debating important topics of today? If the most important contemporary exhibitions in the world like Documenta focus solely on past- or few present related issues contextualized by curators or art historians, how can we then expect art to be avant-garde?

For decades artists have questioned the canvas, the pigment, and since the1960-70s conceptual artists like Marcel Broodthaers have questioned the structure of the museum which led to Institutional Critique in art with artists such as Daniel Buren, Andrea Fraser, and Hans Haacke. With his art format BIENNALIST, Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL questions the global art events. He takes the theme of each biennial seriously and studied in order to contribute to the debate the biennales want to generate. The artist is with this format often on-location testing the pertinence of the biennales.

In 2002 Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL did a project called “The Next Documenta should be curated by a car” and “The protest school”. In 2012 The BIENNALIST project was respectively supported by the ZKM Museum Museum of Contemporary Art for conducting operations at the Athens Biennale curated by Nicolas Bourriaud and by the Sprengel Museum for operation done at the Venice Biennale.

In dOCUMENTA 13 he realized the project “The Emergency will replace the contemporary” which got a strong attention in the media and among art critiques. With a UN blue helmet as an artistic metaphor for innocence, Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL appointed himself to be “a peace-war researcher” and discovered the enormous presence of an active weapon industry in documentaßtat Kassel. The message was communicated as text on a tent placed under the Joseph Beuys tree on the lawn in front of the Fredericianum just after the press conference June 6th, 2012.

The tent with a statement “THE EMERGENCY WILL REPLACE THE CONTEMPORARY” was removed and confiscated by the dOCUMENTA organizers. Ironically enough this kick started, the same days, a growing occupy movement dOCCUPY, that made a tent encampment in the same area and which was welcomed by dOCUMENTA 13 curator.

Now Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL is preparing the exhibition #documentasceptic, on a specially designed online platform and in the gallery SABSAY from March 30th to June 24th, 2017, which will look closer into the next Documenta 14 and Venice Biennale 2017.


Learning from Athens, 28/2 2017


Detail: Pretend to learn to better impose, 28/2 2017


For more info please visit the BIENNALIST website or send an email either to the writer of the text Tijana Miskovic or the artist Thierry Geoffroy/ COLONEL