Sweet Bitter Symphony

Tim Etchells & Vlatka Horvat, Sofia Hultén, Sven Johne, Ragnar Kjartansson, Liz Magic Laser

9 March – 19 May 2013
Opening: Fr 8 March 2013, 7.30 p.m.

Welcoming speech: Angela Piplak, executive director
Introduction: Stefanie Böttcher, artistic director

WETHER SWEET PAIN, eloquent silence, or lovehate, all are linked by one factor: the inherent contradiction contained in these antithetical or mutually exclusive notions. As a rhetorical device such contrariness is known as an oxymoron, while in the fine arts it has always been utilised as a stylistic ploy. The oxymoron is predestined to denote ambiguous, multi-layered content, which it imparts in an incisive and gripping manner. The manifestation of “sweet pain« was at its most popular during the Baroque era, and its effects can still be felt today, for this conflicting conceptual coupling still features in many contemporary art works. One reason, perhaps, being that both suffering and enjoyment are enormously powerful physical and psychological sensual perceptions. They make such a huge impression that
merely looking at a work of art interpreting individual pain can totally captivate the viewer, who is swept along and carried away by the intentionally direct impact. In that respect there is no difference between the Baroque ideal and that of the contemporary artist.

Sweet Bitter Symphony brings together video works by major contemporary artists. It considers pain as one of the most intense and yet most polyvalent human emotions. Although it can be experienced as an oppressive burden, as a cry for help from the body or mind, the feeling of pain is not necessarily negatively tinged. These works of art present pain in all its diversity: its beauty, its attractiveness, its romantic or liberating nature.


11 April 2013, 7–11 p.m. Leidenschaft und Ostinato - An Evening with Baroque Musique presented by DJ Glasmeier, Professor für Kunstwissenschaft In cooperation with the HFK Bremen
16 May 2013, 7 p.m. Vom Klang innerer Widersprüche: eine sprachmusikalische Betrachtung Lecture by Dr. Rahel Ziethen, Institut für deutsche Sprache und Literatur, Universität Hildesheim

Guided tours: 14 March 2013; 25 April 2013, 7 p.m.