In autumn 2021, Kunsthalle Lingen will realise the presentation of the exhibition entitled “DAMME” by the artist Heidi Specker in its two rooms. Born in 1962 in the town of the same name, she now lives in Berlin and is a professor at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, where she heads the photography class. After studying visual communication at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, she was a master student of Joachim Brohm at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts. The Kunstmuseum Bonn and the Berlinische Galerie, among others, organised solo exhibitions for her and she took part in group exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien and the National Museum of Art in Kyoto.
Heidi Specker works in the medium of photography. The work “DAMME”, created in 2019, consists of 70 photographs that both reflect and comment on life in the countryside in an intense way. Normality prevails in Damme, isolated snapshots of a landscape of asphalt, concrete and brick refer to anonymity and wasteland; monocultures of maize fields and wind turbines characterise the landscape. In the rural metropolitan area, it is not the Späti or the kiosk but the drinks market that provides alcoholic beverages. The focus is on young people, privileged in their state between dreaming and expecting the future. The photographs tell of the departure partly from close up, partly with distance, look back and reflect stations in life. A video film contains the episodes “Landstraße” and “Glückauf” and complements the photographs.
Another component of the exhibition is the project “CORNFELD”, for which Heidi Specker invited artists to add something to a historical copperplate engraving of the useful plant maize, published in 1895 in the Hausschatz des Wissens: “Das Pflanzenreich”. The result is individual prints by nationally and internationally renowned artists Andrea Büttner, Anna Haifisch, Antje Majewski, Beate Terfloth, Daniela Burger, Dragutin Banic, Erik Swars, Florian Merkel, Gerd Grüneis, Isabelle Fein, Kerstin Drechsel, Laura Horelli, Lina Ehrentraut, Lutz Braun, Marcus Weber, Martin Städeli, Maximilian Kirmse, Olivier Guesselé-Garai, Peter Herrmann, Raaf van der Sman, Sebastian Hammwöhner, Stefan Vogel, Sunah Choi, Susanne Bürner, Tatjana Doll, Ulrike Kuschel, Wilhelm Klotzek and Wawrzyniec Tokarski.
In terms of content, the works “DAMME” and “CORNFELD” convey questions in a place like Lingen that also affect the people and landscape around this medium-sized town. Here, too, young people look expectantly to the future, here, too, there are limited opportunities for leisure activities, here, too, factory farming partly determines agriculture that is oriented towards agricultural efficiency. Therefore, the exhibition in Lingen deals with socially relevant aspects that affect many rural regions beyond this place. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue that conveys the CORNFELD project.
The exhibition and the catalogue are generously supported by the Foundation of Lower Saxony.