Bas Jan Ader, Nobuyoshi Araki, Harun Farocki, Forensic Architecture, Patrycja German, Anna Gohmert, Damien Hirst, Viktoria Modesta, Barbis Ruder, Marianna Simnett, Maya Watanabe, Gabrielle Zimmermann


Key Visual Beyond the Pain; Design: Matter Of


The exhibition Beyond the Pain is dedicated to the universal theme of pain and, above all, how we get over it. The show explores the central questions: What comes after pain? Can pain be a meaningful, even enjoyable experience that enables us to transform boundary experiences into a positive attitude? On the other hand, there also exists a pain that is almost impossible to endure and presumably too great to ever get over, for instance torture or traumata. Some people nevertheless succeed in living a positive life despite this ever-present limitation.

Like art, pain is an individual experience that has a physical or psychological effect. The aim, therefore, is above all to present artistic positions that prompt an immediate emotional response in viewers, speaking to their capacity for empathy. Be it by means of a visual or acoustic stimulus or the narrative dealt with in the artwork. This leads to ambivalences between aesthetic and physical or emotional feelings. The exhibition Beyond the pain combines younger contemporary positions with established artists. Because pain is a time-based experience, so too will time-based media play an important role, for example performance and video. To complement the exhibition at the Galerie Stadt Sindelfingen, it is also planned for performances to take place as satellite events at other venues. For this purpose we are aiming to enlist the support of partner institutions above all abroad.

To structure the extensive field of pain, four general themes will be introduced to narrow down emotional and physical pain: “Mourning and World Weariness” explores the suffering that comes about in interpersonal relationships. The World Weariness component comprises a broader melancholy and how people get over or come to terms with it, for example in Bas Jan Ader’s video “I’m too sad to tell you” and ultimately in the art project of his tragic death. “Torture and Trauma” brings together works dealing with post-traumatic experiences stemming from violence, particularly war. Not only the victims but also perpetrators of physical and emotional violence are considered, as in Maya Watanabe’s works, for example. “Life Processes and Sickness” explores a range of different phenomena that share the fact that they are experienced as direct pain in the human body and are often unavoidable. People have no direct control over them. Because Marianna Simnett uses extreme physical interventions in her videos, even viewing them is almost impossible to bear. Following on from this, “Liminal Experiences and Sexuality” describes extreme physical stress that is, however, voluntarily self-inflicted. Nobuyoshi Araki refers to sadomasochistic practices with a special sensitivity to aesthetics in his photos. He combines painful sexual practices with a sense for easiness. “Self-Optimisation and Pain Avoidance”, finally, addresses works that play with the idea of modifying the human body and thus avoiding painful experiences. Here the exhibition links into highly topical questions concerning digitisation and life as an optimised version of the self. The possibility of becoming an avatar that we create ourselves or a surgically modified version of our own body is offering more and more ways of escaping sometimes painful reality.


Bas Jan Ader (*1942 in Winschoten, Netherlands / †1975 Atlantic Ocean)

Nobuyoshi Araki (*1940 in Minowa,  Tokyo prefecture, lives and works in Tokyo)

Harun Farocki (*1944 in Nový Jičín, Czech Republic) / †2014 near Berlin)

Forensic Architecture (research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London)

Patrycia German (*1979 in Wrocław, Poland / lives and works in Berlin)

Anna Gohmert (*1983 in Stuttgart / lives and works in Stuttgart)

Damien Hirst (*1965 in Bristol, UK / lives and works in London)

Viktoria Modesta (*1988 in Daugavpils, Latvia / lives and works in London)

Barbis Ruder (*1984 in Heidelberg / lives and works in Vienna)

Marianna Simnett (*1986, lives and works in London)

Maya Watanabe (*in Peru / lives and works in Lima and Amsterdam)

Gabrielle Zimmermann (*1971 in Stuttgart / lives and works in Stuttgart)


Artistic director and project manager:

Madeleine Frey



Sebastian Schmitt


Project assistant:

Paul Ambros


Press and public relations:

Elke Bernhart


The exhibition is funded by:




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