Enrique Rottenberg


4.7. — 6.9.2015

The title of the ex­hi­bi­tion refers to the phil­o­soph­i­cal novel On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia pub­lished in 1516 by the English hu­man­ist, writer, and states­man Thomas More. His vision of the ideal fu­ture so­ci­e­ty gave birth to so­cial utopias as a lit­er­ary genre.

Cuban-Israeli pho­to­grapher Enrique Rottenberg’s group of works en­ti­tled “Utopia” uses staged im­ages of human beings to design an ideal, sup­posedly per­fect so­ci­e­ty. With tre­men­dous empathy, humor, and acidic satire, Rottenberg pic­tures his Cuban coun­try­man and women in life-size, space-filling pho­to­graphic por­traits and group im­ages. “Utopia” at the Kunsthalle HGN was the art­ist’s first solo ex­hi­bi­tion in Germany.

The son of Polish-Jewish parents, Enrique Rottenberg was born in Argentina in 1948. Aged 13, he moved to Israel on his own and later became a suc­cess­ful real es­tate de­vel­op­er, film di­rec­tor, script writer, and film producer. Since 1993, Cuba has been his home of choice where he has par­tic­i­pated in nu­mer­ous ex­hi­bi­tions.

The Making of

The con­struc­tion of the par­ti­tions and screens began in late May. One major chal­lenge was the con­cep­tion and ex­e­cu­tion of the walk-in, sound-insulated shell for the 20-meter-long work “The Dance” in which vis­i­tors would be exposed to ex­treme­ly loud music while the out­side space was to be ab­so­lute­ly silent.

The hanging of the pho­to­graphs, some of which measured up to 27 meters, was a de­mand­ing task re­quir­ing plenty of talent for im­promp­tu so­lu­tions. For days on end, the del­i­cate paper prints had to be re-aligned time and again until ev­ery­thing fi­nally came to­geth­er.