08 Sep 2023 - 07 Apr 2024

Seeing Without Light

Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart


For her solo exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin-based artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke explores hidden traces of violence that unnotice-ably shape our understanding of history and the present time. The exhibition confronts historical erasure and examines the role of cen-sorship and violence in Central Europe’s art and political history. The focus is on the project “Blindstrom-Extrakte” (2023), which re-fers to a collection of paintings that were censored and confiscated by Soviet intelligence during the 1930s. This collection is now pre-served at the National Art Museum of Ukraine. In addition, the new production “Bud’mo,” a video-sound project produced in Ukraine in spring 2023, will premiere at Hamburger Bahnhof. 

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, who was born to a Ukrainian mother and a Tunisian father in 1978, will present, among other works, the project “Blindstrom-Extrakte” (2023) at Hamburger Bahnhof. Originally conceived for the Na-tional Art Museum of Ukraine (NAMU) in Kyiv, this adapted version deals with the so-called “Spezfond” collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. The collection includes paintings from the 1920s and the 1930s, one of which “Harvest Review” (1937) will be included in the exhibition. The Soviet government in Moscow confiscated the paintings due to de-picted events of political movements or the formalist styles represented in Ukraine at that time. Despite the persecution, imprisonment, and even execution of some artists, the scheduled destruction of the paintings failed due to the invasion of the German Wehrmacht. In addition to works from two decades of Kaabi-Linke’s artistic creation, the video and sound instal-lation “Bud’mo” (2023), created especially for the exhibition, will also be shown. The multi-channel projection transports visitors to the so-called “partisan forest” Chornyi Lis (black forest) and the Bronetskyi forest in Ga-licia. It refers to historical connections and partly forgotten or hidden over-laps of Ukrainian, German, and Russian history. 

 The exhibition will be accompanied by the third edition of the Hamburger Bahnhof catalogue series, edited by Silvana Editoriale Milano. 

The exhibition is curated by Sam Bardaouil, Director of Hamburger Bahnhof, and Daria Prydybailo, Curator of Hamburger Bahnhof. 

The exhibition is made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie and is supported by Burger Collection, Hong Kong and the TOY family. 

Press release from Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart

Image: Nadia Kaabi-Linke. Installation view of Seeing Without Light at Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, Berlin, 2023. Image courtesy of Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart