Lothar Baumgarten and Gabriel Rossell Santillán
The exhibition 'A Natural Order of Things' contrasts a selection of the artistic work of Lothar Baumgarten (1944–2018) from ifa's own collection with more recent works by Gabriel Rossell Santillán (born 1977). The exhibition includes artist's books, photographs, installations, and videos.
Both artists explore encounters between cultures. They address the effects of the appropriation of land and the exploitation of nature and people. Both of them work with indigenous communities in the Americas, Baumgarten with the Yãnomãmi people in the border lands of Venezuela and Brazil, and Rossell Santillán with the Wixárika community in northeast Mexico. Their artistic works look at alternative forms of recording, categorising, and making images. In this, Baumgarten and Santillán always take their own perspective into account and search for an artistic form of expression that permits blanks and yet still shows an individual position.
Lothar Baumgarten and Gabriel Rossell Santillán are also interested in the classification, collection and presentation of indigenous works in European museums, where the original significance of these artefacts is changed or even lost. Therefore, Rossell Santillán invited a 'cantador', a spiritual leader of the Wixárika community to the Ethnological Museum in Berlin-Dahlem. The 'cantador' named and explained the sacrificed items there, and his stories restored their meaning. This led to a temporary space of memory and experience that was able to create links, while the fundamental distance between ownership and possession and between the Western and indigenous narratives remained. 'Creating an image of this can reconcile and enrich,' however, as Lothar Baumgarten said.