Valentina Karga at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg / Hamburg

Valentina Karga / Well Beings

Curated by Erika Pinner

24 March until 3 September 2023

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G)

 Photographer: Henning Rogge

In the exhibition “Well Beings” at the Museum
für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G), artist and designer Valentina Karga
(b. 1986 in Chalkidiki, Greece) deals with the fears triggered by ecological
crises. Based on her own experience with such anxieties, she has developed an
interactive installation that invites visitors to try out various exhibits
inspired by popular self-care objects. These include hug-pillows and weighted
blankets as well as oversized plush toys that are blown-up versions of small
figurines from the museum’s Antiquities Collection.

In these days of climate crises, more and more
people are affected by eco-anxiety – the chronic fear of environmental
collapse. This anxiety disorder can lead to nervousness, sleep disturbances,
sensations of suffocation and even depression. Somatic psychotherapy techniques
that regulate the nervous system have been shown to have positive effects on
such symptoms. Drawing upon personal experience, Karga invites others to
experience the immersive self-care environment she has designed. Her design
language focuses on human beings as the main cause of climate change and
species extinction. In order to give ourselves a new chance, Karga argues, we
need to look back to ancient models that can help us to renegotiate our
relationship to other forms of life and to the earth as habitat. The artist
delved into the MK&G’s Antiquities Collection to find prehistoric
figurines, dating from 2000 to 600 BCE as basis for her work. By interpreting
the qualities of these idols as symbols of a non-human world, she tries to open
up a new perspective on our image of humanity: One that will cultivate loving
responses to our predicament of the climate crisis, in order to reduce anxiety,
trauma and, therefore, harm. Valentina Karga also deals with the topic of
eco-anxiety in the video  “Adaptation”,
filmed especially for the exhibition, and conceived and produced in
collaboration with students from the Hamburg University of Fine Arts (HFBK).
Film production: Lukas Grubba and Sarah Pech, choreography: Polyxeni Angelidou,
live action role-playing (Larp) design: Nina Runa Essendrop, Costumes: För
Künkel, Sound: Junya Fugita.

The supporting public programme is a project
of HFBK Hamburg and the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU).



Valentina Karga’s art moves between the fields
of conceptual art, design, architecture and socially engaged practice. She is a
founding member of Collective Disaster, an interdisciplinary group working at
the crossroads between architecture and the social realm. Karga was a fellow at
the Graduate School of Berlin University of the Arts from 2011 to 2013 and a
Saari Fellow in Finland in 2017. In 2015 Karga was awarded the Vilém Flusser
Residency for Artistic Research. Her works have been exhibited at institutions including
the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, the Onassis Foundation in
Athens, and the NEON foundation in Athens in collaboration with Whitechapel
Gallery in London, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Pact Zollverein in Essen, and at
art shows including the transmediale, the Athens Biennale of Contemporary Art,
the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art and the Thailand Biennale, as
well as in a solo show at the Hippolyte Gallery in Helsinki. She has also
organized and participated in discursive events in institutions such as the
Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. After doing a residency at the NTU Centre
for Contemporary Art in Singapore, Karga has been a professor at the Hochschule
für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK) since 2018.