Past exhibitions

Loops and Breaktroughs
23.09.2022 - 16.10.2022

Sophia Eisenhut, Rahel Goetsch, Sonja Heim, Paula Heinrich, Marina Köstel, Wagehe Raufi and Evelyn Roh

As part of the exhibition ”Loops and Breakthroughs“ participating artists were invited to engage with Ursula K. Le Guin’s (1929 - 2018) approach to story-telling.

The science fiction author prefers fundamentally unheroic story-telling and presents feminist alternatives to the linear, violent narratives that dominate western thinking.

The exhibition reflects on artistic positions that are formed in relation to Le Guin’s 1986 essay ”The Carrier Bag Theory Of Fiction“. While the essay serves as conceptual base, the exhibition is accompanied by a publication in which participating authors and artists have responded to it.

Reflecting on the prehistoric Neolithic Age, Le Guin’s essay suggests that the earliest cultural invention may have been a container, not a weapon. What’s the use of hunting down animals or gathering edibles if you don’t have the means to carry them home and store them, Le Guin asks. Before humans invented tools like weapons that force energy outwards, they produced devices that enable to bring energy home, she suspects. Therefore, Le Guin sees herself as an adherent of what she calls ”The Carrier Bag Theory“ of human evolution.

This consideration leads her to distinguish two historically constituted modes of story-telling. Thinking of prehistoric subsistence, images of mammoth hunters come to mind, even though collecting plant-based edibles was the primary source of ensuring survival. If there was spare time to go hunting, what mattered in the face of returning was the story, not the meat. Tales of hunting mostly revolve around male, powerful protagonists while the ”shape of the narrative“ remains that of an arrow or spear. Le Guin rejects the notion of heroism portrayed by what she calls ”the killer story“, a mode of narrating that dominates our thinking.

Le Guin contrasts this with a second mode of story-telling that she sees more in alignment with feminist approaches. Considering what may have been the first cultural invention, she prefers ascribing heroic attributes to devices that function as containers instead of weapons. According to Le Guin we’ve already heard enough stories about sticks, spears and swords. Instead she feels an urgency to tell stories from the vantage point of gathering and collecting. The ”natural, proper, fitting shape of the novel might be that of a sack, a bag“. With regards to the genre of science fiction Le Guin suggests to avoid the linear, progressive, ”killing-arrow-mode“ of story-telling and trades it for ”The Carrier Bag Theory Of Fiction“ (1986).

Curated by Paula Heinrich, Marina Köstel and Evelyn Roh
Text by Marlene Coates
Sun Dogs or  Mock Suns
29.07.2022 - 20.08.2022

Emily Dietrich, Kurt Fritsche, Joshua Gottmanns, Paul Müller, Ella Pechechian and Lena Marie Schütte

Sliding ice cubes across tables of local cafés with our pinky fingers. Hot days as mental markers on wrinkled timelines. Which droplet on your sweaty upper lip did you bet on? All in. All in one season. Walking barefoot on burnt grass. Your friends now understand themselves in outside activities. Shut Blinders. Evolved cooling strategies. Show and Tell with debris of conversation pieces neatly lined up at the shoreline. Concerns merge like your skin with the vinyl backseat during car rides. Plastic playgrounds as personal hell. The first sting. Liquid roads. Drowsy conscience on staycation. Brain freeze. Where do you hide when Atmospheres discharge? I think it’s safe to say that only sometimes some things have to do with nothing else. But what exactly did you think would happen at your staredown with the  sun?

Curated by Marina Köstel, Jakob Francisco, Malte Möller, Johannes Schwalm and Lena Stewens
Text by Lena Stewens
Special thanks to Dieter Fritzsche from F. + H. Siebdruck GmbH F..

Of Second Glances, Group exhibition
12.03.2022 - 02.04.2022


Tilmann Aechnter, Rosario Aninat, Albin Bergström, Chae Biole Park, Dennis Haustein, Jakob Spengemann and Nicholas Stewens

„Not to ‚capture’ or ‚decode’ the gesture: to confound himself with its secrecy.“ ¹
Tom McCarthy

The gaze drifts along the contours of the room - under the pipes and conduits, between the gaps and behind the heaters. A whole ensemble of aberrations; swarming. We are familiar with the feeling when something is missing, when only a trace remains, which all at once seems to dominate the entire space. This intense moment, when the gaze falls in between things and reaches the most remote objects, is when we are made fully aware of the absence of a function. It is a paradoxical form of presence in that something seems present through its absence.

Something has nestled in the corners; pipes that correlate rooms; the interior and exterior blurring into one another; conduits leading to nothingness. The objects turn into entities rather than things as time passes. Movements in the corners of the eyes, the glances skip through the space once again. They rush over things in uncertainty, reassure themselves and re-establish the habituated sentience in perception, and yet something stays behind. The solid sensory structures are subverted and the space momentarily becomes fictional. „This can only happen [according to Mark Fisher] because the unity and transparency which we ordinarily ascribe to our minds are illusory. Gaps and inconsistencies are constitutive of what we are.“ ²

This certain presence maintained by something that once was there and now has changed or disappeared remains essential to the event. The narrative lives off of that which has been manipulated. The sense of the uncanny arises when presence and absence shift into one another, even though they are in fact mutually exclusive. „Something Where There Should Be Nothing: Nothing Where There Should Be Something.“ ³ The third which is barely tangible, negotiating between the counterpart of presence and absence, is ultimately what enables the meaning of the former. It seems of no interest to resolve this dilemma for a dichotomous step-by-step of something or nothing. To capture, not to decode, the mystery for a brief moment ... To hide what is shown.

¹ Tom McCathy, Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish, p. 102
² Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie, p. 72
³ Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie, p. 65

Curated by Malte Möller, Vivien C. Kämpf and Robert Bergmann
Text by Robert Bergmann
Translated by Lena Stewens
Photos by Dennis Haustein

Sempf, Group exhibition
7.12.2021 - 16.01.2022

Juewen Zhang, Ron Wohler, Jeongkyoung Woo, Jan Trinkaus, Georg Thanner, Lennart Schweigert, Maral Müdok, Severine Meier, Enxhi Mehmeti, Timur Lukas, Melody Lu, Franziska Kronmüller, Oriana Fenwick & Ian Rodriguez, Tim Dönges and Milena Bassen


Gently pulled back a strand of hair that fell in to the face of this planet. In which tone do you wish to be addressed today? Framed some second guesses. Wrote another blank space manifesto on an Etch A Sketch in political earth quake season. Referenced all the ways of Peeing (publicly / private/ into the snow) to make no point at all. Certain type of Lingo. Disconnected the dots and scratched common currency signs into the ocean‘s epidermis. Let‘s get matching cover up tattoos? Scouted ripped question marks as background dancers for those internal Late Night Skits. I think it‘s kind of fun you drew a cloud.

Curated by Johannes Schwalm, Lea Klemisch und Lena Stewens
Text by Lena Stewens
Photos by Jakob Dieckmann

©Magma Maria 2022