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Berlin Art Prize 2019 | Joshua Schwebel

Press release

Berlin Art Prize 2019 | Joshua Schwebel

Joshua Schwebel (b. 1980, Toronto, Canada) is a conceptual artist seeking to make visible the inter-relationships between art and its broader political and economic contexts. His work does not begin with an independent material process; rather, he uses the hosting art institution as his raw material. The works unfold over time through a proposal to alter the administrative, symbolic, or architectural structure of the institution. Given that his work is concerned with the relational systems at play in contemporary art, the negotiations towards the successful or unsuccessful realization of the project are also incorporated into the final exhibition.

Schwebel’s intervention for the Berlin Art Prize 2019 departs from its site, the Kreuzberg Pavillon, a socially engaged project space situated between Kottbusser Tor and Moritzplatz in the heart of Kreuzberg. The erection of real estate developer Pandion’s new block of commercial and creative enterprises on Moritzplatz, a five-minute walk from the Kreuzberg Pavillon, will irrevocably reorient the neighborhood’s businesses and services. Drastic increases in rent have already forced several local businesses to close, and the neighborhood’s population has consequently already shifted. Before starting construction, Pandion rented the vacant spaces at Moritzplatz for temporary artistic use (including last year’s Berlin Art Prize exhibition and ceremony), a seemingly open gesture that carried with it the implicit message that artists’ use of Kreuzberg is henceforth to be temporary, and must soon give way to the more permanent activity of commerce.

Berlin Art Prize 2019
Nine solo exhibitions by nine nominees in nine project spaces.