The exhibition Von Luftmatratzen, Stroh und anderen Waffen [Of air
mattresses, straw and other weapons] presents new works
from Cornelia Herfurtner’s cycle of works Was ist eine Waffe? [What
is a weapon?] (since 2020). The large-format wooden reliefs,
reminiscent of protective shields, show still lifes of objects that
were negotiated in the Federal Republic of Germany as socalled
“passive weapons” and, due to the spatial installation of
the reliefs, oscillate between image and sculpture.
The starting point of the exhibition project is the restriction of
the freedom of assembly through the introduction of the
so-called “passive armament” in Germany. Paragraph 17a of the
Assembly Act (VersG), introduced in 1985, makes it possible
to criminalize protective clothing and everyday objects, which
in civilian life serve to preserve physical integrity, as ‘passive
weapons’ or ‘protective weapons’, when they are worn or carried
at political open-air gatherings. Since 1985, court cases have
tried items such as bicycle helmets, gloves, swimming goggles,
baseball caps, clear plastic sheeting, and air mattresses as
protective weapons. An attempt by the police to criminalize
protesters for carrying straw at protests was rejected by courts
in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Herfurtner’s wooden reliefs highlight the repressive nature
and contextual arbitrariness of defining weapons in general
and passive weaponry in particular. Who determines
what a weapon is? What is protection and shield? And who
defends what? The artist questions how violence is produced
and simultaneously concealed in the democratic state
and examines the power of interpretation over public space.
The spatial installation is complemented by a sound piece
by Betül Merve Tekoğlu and accompanied by a framework
program that discursively embeds the history and present
of freedom of assembly, and locates and expands it in current
feminist practices. A publication will be released at the end
of the exhibition.
Please inform us of any special needs by e-mail:
The events will be held in German spoken language.
Whispered translations into English will be
organized together as needed on site. Children are
Never relinquish the streets!
Discussion on the history of the right of assembly
03.05.2023 // 19:00
with Elke Steven (sociologist), Katharina Gamm (lawyer for criminal law) and Anna, moderated by Cornelia Herfurtner
What are the consequences of the application of paragraph 17a (§17 a VersG) on social movements and protests? And what practices oppose the restriction of democratic rights?
This discussion will focus on the history and present of freedom of assembly in the FRG. On the one hand, we will talk about how the freedom of assembly has been repeatedly attacked. On the other hand, we will look at the strategies and ideas people in social movements have developed to enforce assemblies.
Berührungen und Selbstschutz?
Inclusive art education
05.05.2023 // 15:00
with Katrin Dinges (artist and cultural educator)
Together we will encounter the exhibition in an unusual way: with our fingers and hands. How do we feel images? What ideas does this kind of perception evoke in us? And what role do (shared) touches play in our lives?
Through touch and conversation, we will address these questions –
and of course also any questions you have.
Betül Merve Tekoğlu: Sirens
10.05-13.05.2023 // 16:00-19:00
concept and composition: Betül Merve Tekoğlu
sound: Baptiste Moulin
The 4-channel sound installation Sirens by artist Betül Merve Tekoğlu
deals with acoustic strategies of care, solidarity and resistance in hostile environments. The composition draws its tension from a contradiction: It consists of sound frequencies that can be used as weapons or deterrents, but here are turned into their opposite, having a calming and relaxing effect.
Sirens can be experienced during the exhibition’s opening hours
and invites visitors to stop, rest and listen.
Nicht eine* weniger
Intergenerational Roundtable on Autonomous Feminist Organizing
13.05.2023 // 15:00
with Annalisa Cananzi (E.A.S.T. – Essential Autonomous Struggles Transnational), Cora Mohr (FrauenLesbenGruppe Frankfurt a.M.), Lee Stevens (collective member of Raumerweiterungshalle, artist and care worker, Berlin) and Suna Qu (political education, Berlin), moderated by Amina Été and Cornelia Herfurtner
What forms does emancipatory politics take today?
In this event, participants will report from their political work. How are they organized? How do they shape their practices? What are the ideas and needs behind autonomous feminist organizing? How does the emancipation of women and inter*, trans*, non-binary and agender people currently look, and express itself? What has changed within emancipatory politics and practices over the past 35 years?
This event is open to women, inter*, non-binary, trans*, and agender
people interested in autonomous feminist organizing. We will share our different experiences. After the joint discussion there will be drinks and snacks and the possibility to exchange ideas.
Cornelia Herfurtner is a visual artist living in Berlin. From September to November 2022, she was a Artist-in-Resident at ISCP in New York City, researching social movements and the history of engaged art practices from Occupy to Decolonize this place. Exhibitions among others at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2023), Millenium Film, New York City (2023), Mélange, Cologne (2022), Very Project Space, Berlin (2021), Kunstverein Tiergarten | Galerie Nord, Berlin (2021), After the Butcher, Berlin (2020), Mitte Museum, Berlin (2019), ImageMovement, Berlin (2018), and in extenso, Clermont Ferrand (2017).
Cornelia is organized in the anti-militarist alliance “Rheinmetall Entwaffnen” and is active against war and arms production. www.corneliaherfurtner.net
Betül Merve Tekoğlu is a Berlin-based visual artist who was born in Istanbul. She has been teaching at the Berlin University of the Arts since 2021. Fundamental to her artistic research and practice are performative and collaborative processes that manifest in sculpture, video, performance and song.
Projects at 3hd Festival, the Festival of Future Nows, Hamburger Bahnhof, Selbstuniversität e.V. and nGbK Berlin, among others.