OPEN SPACE 20 | On Climate
organized by Nina Wiesnagrotzki
Opening: Friday, 18.03.2016, 7 pm
Mit Werken aus der Sammlung Artothek Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
Erworben mit Mitteln der LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin
“I’d call it more of a passion than a hobby. You’d think that the Internet would have killed us enthusiasts off – in actual fact it’s made us stronger. Philatelic information is much easier to get hold these days, and my better half said she’s happier now that I’ve found an online community and don’t have to bore her all evening with my stamp facts!
When you first start collecting it’s a bit of a free-for-all. The key is to pick a few topics and restrict your collection to just those subjects. My chosen topics fall under the general heading of ‘Science’, so I have ‘Climate Change’, ‘Electricity/Energy’, ‘Atomic Energy/Atomics’ and ‘Nuclear Power’ – although I also have a lesser collection of stamps relating to the gas and coal, which fall under ‘Industry’. Limiting yourself like this makes stamp collecting more difficult, but ultimately more rewarding.
It’s up to the individual to decide how to organise their own collection (this is part of the fun), but I like to use my stamps to tell stories. When done correctly a topical display can be a tour through an epoch. For instance, by organising stamps with the theme ‘energy’ into date rather than country of origin it’s possible to trace the public attitude towards different forms of energy over time.
I have a lot of stamps on nuclear power. It’s a funny topic to be attracted to considering my line of work – I’m in renewables – but opposites attract I guess. Although it’s not particularly valuable one of my favourite stamps is called “Atoms for Peace”. It was issued to commemorate a speech by President Eisenhower to the UN General Assembly in the early 50s. After what went on in Japan everyone was terrified of atomic energy; so in his speech Eisenhower tried to reassure the American people, as well as the rest of the world, that the technology could be used for good. Of course, now they say that it was all a PR stunt to get us used to the idea of Cold Warfare.
I like the stamp because I think it represents our ambivalent attitudes to nuclear power. We’re against it unless it means that energy bills go up or they’re going to build a wind farm in our back garden! But enough of that, I don’t want to get into the politics right now – I’m just a collector.” - Text by Chloe Stead.
As a trained artist and medical doctor Nina Wiesnagrotzki’s practice encompasses associative links between art theory and history as well as natural and social sciences. Her interest in theories on the “Capitalocene”, which takes as its base the relation between humans and the rest of nature, have informed much of her recent work, including the video piece Sansui, Landscape (2014), which reflects on the significance of mountains in relation to Japan’s history of natural disasters. For On Climate she is exhibiting works from her own 2015 series of collages, Atoms for Peace, together with works from Sammlung Artothek Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Through this method the montage intrinsic in her own collages is opened up to incorporate the whole exhibition.