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Readings From Below

Sep 10–Dec 12, 2020

Artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Elom 20ce & Musquiqui Chihying & Gregor Kasper, Hao Jingban, Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Yuichiro Tamura, Yau Ching

Curated by Ariane Beyn

The group exhibition Readings From Below explores how artists engage us in new readings of our complex present by making use of the virtual potentials of archives. While the traditional institution of the archive with its sense of permanence and timeless solidity, its physical location and architecture continues to exist, in today’s world of digitized information, archives are becoming radically decentralized, temporalized, and multimodal, in line with a dynamic user culture. Anything retrieved from these various archives can be reused, re-inscribed, or restaged, offering ongoing possibilities for their reconfiguration in any given order. More than ever before, artists today work with archive documents, research, and information, processing their material in innovative ways and opening it up to our collective memory for rediscovery and reinterpretation.

Readings From Below brings together works that offer less obvious, unconventional suggestions as to how to read our world, often starting with a subjective perspective, a daily environment, a particular location, or a contextual detail, only to engage us in broader social and political constellations. The themes that will weave through this exhibition focus on the impact of the future on the past, unresolved identities, narrated sound and performed language, and readability and unreadability, thus representing a free play with contradictions and polyphonic voices. Reading the world from below also means highlighting what is hidden, silenced, and suppressed in everyday life or in the archive, opting for a reflective mode, and attending closely to our surroundings.

For Readings From Below, Times Art Center Berlin is collaborating with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art on a film program that will be presented online on Arsenal 3 in November 2020 as part of the project “Archive außer sich”. The exhibition is also part of the Berlin Art Week (September 9–13, 2020).


Watch the Curator’s Tour


Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader, Palm Reader, 2020,        
Digital Drawing, Variable Dimensions.
Courtesy of the artists.                               

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, A Convention of Tiny Movements: Spinneys Supermarket, Ashrafieh, August 2017,
2017, Digital Print.
Courtesy of the artist and mor charpentier.

Nguyen Trinh Thi, Everyday’s the Seventies, 2018,
Single-Channel Video, Four-Channel Sound, 15′.
Courtesy of the artist.

Readings From Below, installation view

Readings From Below, installation view

Readings From Below, installation view


Previous Exhibition:

Zhou Tao: Winter North Summer South

Feb 15–Aug 1, 2020