For three weeks, an exhibition in the lobby of the office building at no. 15 Dittrichring in Leipzig, a stone’s throw from G2 Kunsthalle, pairs photographs from urban sceneries in Prague by Stephanie Kiwitt with Andreas Schulze’s shots from the world’s largest fish market in Tokyo.

OPEN / THE KIMONO
Artists: Stephanie Kiwitt, Andreas Schulze
Curated by Anka Ziefer
May 25–June 14, 2020
G2 Kunsthalle, Foyer Dittrichring, Leipzig

The entrance hall acts as a lock between the street and the building’s interior. The two artists activate this zone of passage or transition as a temporary exhibition space and projection screen for their investigation of processes of urban and social transformation.

Stephanie Kiwitt’s work was initially inspired by a formal observation: the renaming of a department store in Prague from the 1970s by its new British owner—Máj became My. The series Máj/My—shot in the streets of the Czech capital between 2015 and 2018 and published in book form by Spector Books in 2018—gathers portraits and details of bodies, subjectivity and advertising, situations and objects, architecture and merchandise for a documentation of urban everyday life. Kiwitt’s photographs read as a critical engagement with continuities and changes in the city and society and the resulting challenges the individual faces.

Andreas Schulze’s pictures were taken at the world’s largest fish market, Tokyo’s Tsukiji Shijō, in 2016. The market was torn down in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games and moved to a different location in the Japanese metropolis’s urban fabric. The grounds of the old market were redeveloped with a complex of buildings for the Olympics. Schulze’s photographs blend a documentary approach with aspects of subjective narrative. The motifs of his work from the Tsukiji Shijō bear witness to a place that has vanished—as has a specific milieu that defined the life of an entire neighborhood for eight decades. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Olympic Games cannot be held as planned in 2020 and are now scheduled for 2021.

The exhibition’s title, OPEN / THE KIMONO, quotes a phrase from business jargon. By suggesting that they open their kimonos, a negotiator proposes to his counterpart that both sides lay their cards on the table. An offer of transparency and candidness, the phrase itself veils its meaning in a sartorial image. The architecture of the temporary project space likewise combines antithetical parameters—openness and security, light and darkness, accessibility and discretion, clarity and opacity—for a situation that is semi-public in nature. The wall cladding in high-end reflective materials like glass, marble, and metal underscores the setting’s representative function and the primary structural purpose of its layout: to regulate the traffic of visitors.

Text: Anka Ziefer

Stephanie Kiwitt, born 1972 in Bonn, studied photography at the Institute of Creative Photography, Opava (CZ), and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig; since 2018 guest lecturer at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels, since 2020 visiting professor for communication design and photography at the University of Art and Design Halle – Burg Giebeichenstein; lives and works in Brussels. Grants & awards: 2017 Scholarship Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn; 2016 Ellen-Auerbach-Stipendium, Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Solo exhibitions: 2019 Fotograf Gallery, Prague; 2018 Kunstverein Leipzig; 2016 Camera Austria, Graz; 2015 RIOT, Ghent; 2015 Kunstverein Pforzheim. Goup exhibitions: 2019 Galerie Eigen + Art, Leipzig; 2019 FOMU Fotomuseum Antwerp; 2018 Les Rencontres de la Fotografie, Arles; 2017 SMAK, Ghent; 2017 Fotomuseum Winterthur; 2015 Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels.

Andreas Schulze, born 1965 in Leipzig, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig; lives and works in Leipzig. Grants & awards: 2016 Artist in Residence, Villa Kamogawa, Goethe-Institut Kyoto; 2013 project scholarship Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, Dresden; 2009 scholarship Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn. Solo exhibitions: 2019 Kleiner Raum für Aktuelles Nichts, Berlin; 2016 Goethe-Institut Kyoto; 2015 Tour Ariane, Paris; 2015 Kunstverein Leipzig, 2013 Galerie Jochen Hempel, Leipzig; 2010 Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; 2008 GfzK Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig. Group exhibitions: 2019 Galerie Ursula Walter, Dresden; 2019 Galerie Eigen + Art, Leipzig; 2016 Scope, Städtische Galerie Kubus, Hannover; 2016 Obai-in, Daitoku-ji Temple, Kyoto; 2015 Biennale de Lyon; 2013 Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; 2011 Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig; 2010 Kunstverein Bregenz, 2008 Chicago Cultural Centre.

Photo:
Image nos 1, 3-4, 6-7, 9, 11-16: OPEN / THE KIMONO, 2020, © Andreas Schulze
Image nos 2, 5: from the series Máj/My, 2015-18, © Stephanie Kiwitt
Image nos 8, 10: UNTITLED (Tsukiji Shijō), 2020, © Andreas Schulze