Found Subject

Raphaela Vogel

25.02. - 12.05.2024




Saturday, 24th February, from 6pm

Artist Talk
Raphaela Vogel with Diedrich Diederichsen (Author) and Søren Grammel (Curator)
Sunday, 25th February, 12am

The "found subject" that is mentioned in the title of the exhibition is the German-Jewish author, translator and playwright Erich Hopp, who spent most of his life in Berlin between 1888 and 1949. A real historical figure, but virtually unknown today. Raphaela Vogel 'found' Hopp by chance when she moved into a house in Eichwalde, south-east of Berlin, a few years ago.

"Found Subject" is far more than an investigation of a place and the loosely interwoven, sometimes faded biographies in its history. Rather, the work quickly moves from the specific to the macro: to the painful experience of a time when belief in the emancipatory potential of aesthetic modernism collided with the totalitarian promises of fascism and its state-organised injustice.

The topicality of the exhibition stems from the fact that today, in different parts of the world, countless people are forced to hide from the henchmen of authoritarian states, from war, hatred, state despotism and persecution because of their origin, their skin colour, their religion, their refugee status or their way of life, because they are denied the right to exist by others. This horror does not affect only a certain group or a certain people, but is a reality everywhere and throughout human history. Empathy, which is much in demand today and sometimes even politically imposed, is a concept that is often misunderstood. It is overlooked that it is about the ability to understand the suffering of others, perhaps even of those who are supposedly on the "other side".

Curated by Søren Grammel

About the artistRaphaela Vogel's work is characterised by an unconventional use of different media. In addition to painting, video, sculpture and music, the artist formulates her own way of dealing with the objet trouvé by working with found objects. For example, she uses raw industrial products, such as a high-voltage insulator, or objects of mass culture, such as the plastic urinal commonly used at city festivals or football matches. Its class-conscious counterpart, a gold-coloured hotel trolley, may also appear. What the selected objects have in common is that, in an art context, they seem particularly bulky and raw. Their forms derive from the pragmatism and economic calculation of everyday life, not from aesthetic discourse.Vogel has been working with manipulated drones for her videos for nine years. She is constantly searching for new camera movements that elude her subjective direction. She throws cameras, attaches them to moving objects or glides them through the channel of a water slide.Vogel paints, prints and draws (often all at once) on a variety of materials, from reflectors to leather skins to Tyvek.By combining all these practices, she creates surprising and provocative installations. Vogel incorporates the entire exhibition space into her work and engages with its architecture. She has brought it to the brink of collapse with her precisely calculated suspension of extremely heavy loads. It seems to be a method of her artistic approach to repeatedly mark the limits of what is still or no longer considered 'permissible'. By doing so, she asks which authority is entitled to decide? What and who empowers whom in the social apparatus?Her titles can play with the rhetoric of authoritarian ideologues in a pleasantly affirmative way ('I Give You a Constitution'), ironically deconstruct gender stereotypes ('She Shah', 'In Firm Hands') or reflect on her own position in the art world ('Ultra-Naked').More recently, she has been creating installations that negotiate different and contradictory positions of political and cultural discourses with (and against) each other in an essay-like manner.Vogel was born in 1988 in Nuremberg. She lives in Berlin.