with Saâdane Afif, Vajiko Chachkhiani, Louisa Clement, Lauren Halsey, Johnston Marklee, Annika Kahrs, Susan Philipsz, Anri Sala, April Street, Thomas Struth, Kaari Upson and Andrea Zittel

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Villa Aurora, VATMH (Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House) presented the exhibition “all the lonely people” at silent green Kulturquartier Berlin. The exhibition, curated by Nana Bahlmann, examined the ancient figure of the hermit against the backdrop of the current pandemic. The show presented examples of loneliness, melancholy, and longing, as well as physical and mental withdrawal. Some of the works by former Villa Aurora fellows and Los Angeles-based artists, have been created during periods of personal isolation, others have been newly conceived for the exhibition. After Berlin, “all the lonely people” traveled to LAXART in Los Angeles.

“all the lonely people” made the experience of isolation and solitude visible. In doing so, the artworks took up traditional motifs associated with hermitage – retreat into nature, contemplation, and the dualities of inside and outside, exchange and silence, exclusion and trauma – and applied them to some of today’s urgent questions. They offered new perspectives on loneliness in the digital age, off-grid self-sufficiency, and imaginary places of refuge in the midst of gentrification and systemic oppression.

all the lonely people, Edited by Heike Catherina Mertens, Spector Books/ Leipzig 2022, Design: Julia Volkmar, 168 Pages with 95 colour and 15 silver print illustrations, German/English, ISBN: 9783959056076, 22 EUR


The book includes new essays and poems by Ann Cotten, Tanja Dückers, Felicitas Hoppe, Maren Kames, Klaus Modick, Monika Rinck, Kathrin Schmidt, Antje Ravik Strubel, Yōko Tawada, and Senthuran Varatharajah – all former Villa Aurora fellows. In addition, the publication includes contributions on the literature of exile by Stefan Keppler-Tasaki and Annette Jael Lehmann.

Other parts of the publication document the exhibition "all the lonely people" at silent green Kulturquartier in Berlin and at LAXART in Los Angeles in 2021/22, curated by Nana Bahlmann. Object entries depict new works conceived especially for the exhibition by Saâdane Afif, Louisa Clement, Lauren Halsey, Susan Philipsz, April Street, and Thomas Struth, as well as the exhibition architecture by Johnston Marklee, and existing works by Vajiko Chachkhiani, Annika Kahrs, Anri Sala, Kaari Upson, and Andrea Zittel.

Exhibition views from Berlin and Los Angeles and an extensive illustration section with vintage postcards (ca. 1890 - 1930) of hermitages and recluses from around the world open up a rich visual world on retreat and isolation, between contemporary artistic interpretations and historical views.

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all the lonely people, Regie: Florian Giefer und Peter Göltenboth, eine pet&flo directors-Production im Auftrag von Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V., 18:15 min

The documentary, directed by Berlin-based filmmakers Peter Goeltenboth and Florian Giefer (pet&flo directors), captures atmospheric impressions of the exhibition in Berlin and Los Angeles and sensitively explores the experiences of human and artistic isolation and withdrawal in interviews with the curator Nana Bahlmann, the artists Susan Philipsz (Berlin), April Street (L.A.), Annika Kahrs (Hamburg/Berlin), Louisa Clement (Bonn) and Andrea Zittel (Joshua Tree). Mark Lee (Johnston Marklee L.A.) describes the concept of the exhibition architecture and Hamza Walker, director of LAXART, tells of the history of his exhibition venue as a recording studio for music legends such as Billy Holliday and Elvis Presley.

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