#3 Sabian Baumann: Horizontales Paradies – Reliefserie
9 July–13 August 2022
As part of the opening programme for its new venue, Between Bridges is proud to present Zurich-based Sabian Baumann’s first solo exhibition in Berlin.
Born in Zug in 1962, for more than three decades Baumann has established a practice that counters the normative by celebrating the aesthetic and affective dimensions of indeterminacy and instability, rupture and contradiction, optimism and humour. Working predominantly in figurative drawing, the artist’s wide-ranging oeuvre encompasses sculpture, video and installation, as well as socially engaged and queer activist collaborations. Within and beyond Switzerland, Baumann has been a key figure in the queer–feminist and anti-discriminatory movement since the 1990s, initiating and co-organizing queer art and film projects, interventions, workshops and performances. These include: the event series erotisch, aber indiskret, Feminismus – Kunst – Pornografie (1995); the production label Sexismus Productions (1999–2003); the think tank Casual (2003–04); the film documentary working on it (2008); the exhibition project An Unhappy Archive (2013–present) (both collaborations with Karin Michalski); and the artistic–activist intervention die grosse um_ordnung (2018).
At Between Bridges Baumann presents Reliefserie (Relief series, 2013–2014), an array of small-scale sculptures made of unfired clay whose porous materiality is imbued with the potential for transfiguration. The series presents human, fantastical and hybrid beings as both the embodiment and mould for queer affinities and intimacies – for other subjectivities; for other possible ways of relating, longing, and belonging. Affectionate and intertwined, these beings are engaged in practices that unfold horizontally: loving, nurturing, recovering, or dreaming together. Here, a horizontal paradise becomes the last resort to subvert the demands of the productivity-driven neoliberal condition.
When mounted for institutional presentation, the series is installed against a radiant raspberry red backdrop: this aligns the sculptures, aesthetically and conceptually, with An Unhappy Archive, the collaborative exhibition project Baumann created with Karin Michalski. The Archive gathers visual and theoretical material that questions “happiness” as a social norm, referring to and collaborating with manifold thinkers affiliated with queer affect theory such as Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant and – during its first presentation in 2013, before his untimely death – José Esteban Muñoz.
Between Bridges would like to thank all the lenders for their generosity, which has allowed the relief series to be brought together in Germany for the first time.