Matthias Berthold BREATHE

May 7 to October 30, 2022

With »Matthias Berthold BREATHE«, the Kunstforum der TU Darmstadt will present its next outdoor exhibition starting May 7, 2022. Berthold's works are characterized by his intense preoccupation with the everyday. The exhibition title BREATHE refers to one of his numerous instructions that will be found in public space as part of the exhibition.

Matthias Berthold (*1964 in Lübeck, lives and works in Hamburg) has devoted himself to numerous projects of art in public space and art in architecture since 2005. An example of this is his »Wortfeld«, the facade artwork made up of a total of 39 connecting words, which was selected in 2018 as part of an art competition and implemented in 2019 at the energy center of the TU Darmstadt on the Lichtwiese. Berthold, who studied ethnology and illustration, has been an active artist since 1992.

With Matthias Berthold BREATHE, the Kunstforum der TU Darmstadt is once again artistically active in the public urban space. The title BREATHE refers to one of his approximately forty »instructions for action« that can be found in the city during the campaign period. Matthias Berthold (*1964 in Lübeck, lives and works in Hamburg) has devoted himself to numerous projects of art in public space since 2005. The basis for his actions is the intensive preoccupation with the effect of language and the written word.

»Self-discovery is what drives me«

Matthias Berthold

The titel BREATHE is paradox: To prompt someone to something one already does anyway. This is how one sign orders to concentrate only on the essential – to »breathe«. More than forty of such »instructions« can be spotted downtown. They are part of the art happenings by the Hamburg based artist Matthias Berthold (*1964 in Lübeck, lives and works in Hamburg). They invite to experiment and gain experiences, to discover freedoms.

Signs are omnipresent in public space with their demands or prohibitions. Berthold counteracts this with his instructions, which seem like regular street signs and which he has been developing for twenty years. They encourage to self-experiments and to seemingly senseless actions. The effectiveness and the possibilities of words can also be found in his approximately ten meter high facade artwork of the new energy center on the Lichtwiese in Darmstadt (»Wortfeld«, 2019). It consists of 39 reference words that trigger associations without being able to make them tangible. They float on the surface, weightless, freed from their syntax. “These are the beginnings of meanings that ultimately remain open.” (Matthias Berthold). A game about the search for and finding meaning is created. A second »word field«, better »letter field« will be found on one of the flags on the Old Main of the TU Darmstadt.

Berthold's texts also become concretely »handleable« through the fortune cookies that are part of the art events. They are a »work of art« and advertising at the same time. Inside this small, crispy pastry, which is known from Asian restaurants, there is a small piece of paper, like a promise. Unlike the signs in public space, which are visible from afar and have their fixed location and a supposed authority, the fortune cookies are small, personal surprises.

An extensive supporting program is part of Matthias Berthold's art actions, such as his experimental “Windwandern” or the participatory performance of the concerto “In C” by Terry Riley, a classic of minimal music based on a field of notes, a cooperation with the Orchestra at TU Darmstadt.

»I believe that people have an innate artistic power within them. And I want to bring that to light«

Yoko Ono

The Matthias Berthold BREATHE exhibition is now the third artistic intervention by Kunstforum der TU Darmstadt in public space. For the first time, the botanical garden of the TU Darmstadt will be integrated in addition to the parks and green spaces of the city.

Matthias Berthold was born in Lübeck in 1964, he lives and works in Hamburg. Studied ethnology and visual communication for a few semesters, then illustration at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg and experimented with his own currency. He made inventions such as the daytime house, the dark bulb or the universal device, which earned him a sponsorship award from Robert Bosch GmbH. Everything that happens outside of the »white cube« that doesn't have to be declared and guarded as art interests him. Visits to Ireland and Iceland follow. Since 2005 the focus has been on art in public space.

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Explanation of symbols:
yellow: fortune cookies
blue: signs
grey: fields
black: meeting place