Social cohesion and solidarity seem more fragile than ever at the moment. Communities across the globe are being confronted with increasingly nationalist tendencies. Public perceptions of refugee crises and migration focus primarily on the challenges facing society. Artist Thomas Kilpper offers a different perspective: What does it mean to refugees when they lose their homes? Can reactions to their arrival mitigate the social uprooting of refugees, or instead increase it? Could “uprooting” open up new opportunities?
Kilpper’s new series “Burnout”—charcoal drawings of refugee shelters that have been set alight—mark the starting point of the exhibition. At heart of the show is an uprooted tree—an old maple from outside Körnerpark Gallery that fell in a storm in the summer of 2017. The artist has integrated new woodcuts into this large-scale installation featuring portraits of people who have been subjected to racist violence. As well as attacks and assaults that were clearly right-wing, those that are suspected to be racially motivated—such as the murders of Burak Bektaş and Luke Holland in Neukölln—are a particular focus. Thomas Kilpper sees his installation as a critique of violence and as an invocation to live together with openness and solidarity.