An exhibition project of Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, curated by Wolfgang Müller and An Paenhuysen, funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.

Artists: John Cage, Die Tödliche Doris, Christine Sun Kim, Flying Words Project, Valeska Gert, Joseph Grigely, Ella Mae Lentz, Ernst Mitzka, Wolfgang Müller, Magnús Pálsson, Roman Signer, Signmark, Barbara Stauss, Gunter Trube, Clayton Valli, Ming Wong

Interpretations/Translations: Þórhallur Arnarson, Mrs. Washington Barrow, Peter Cook,  George Kannapell, Kenichi Kusano, Danny Lucero, Andrea Schulz, Gabriela Spörri, Dina Tabbert, Natsuko Tsukamoto, Thomas Zander

The exhibition Gesture Sign Art. Deaf Culture / Hearing Culture presents art forms operating at the interface of deaf and hearing culture. It showcases works by artists who take as their point of departure various systems of language and communication, consciously working with their differences, similarities and specificities. Concealing neither their own perspective nor the limitations thereof, the artists seek to open up new possibilities within existing boundaries.

The body is the first boundary we encounter as individuals. Hence the exhibition begins with the body, followed by the language of the body and its abstractions.

The curators Wolfgang Müller and An Paenhuysen have chosen the Moebius loop as a model for their experimental exhibition. The Moebius loop challenges our perception; it defies orientation and makes it impossible to differentiate between above and below, or inside and outside.

The works represented in the show are by artists whose practices revolve around sound, music, speech, sign language, signs, written language and their inherent artistic potential. This interdisciplinary exhibition explores new territory. Unknown, nameless art forms enter the stage by means of signs, gestures, sounds and interactions. The boundaries between dance, performance, music, language, literature and painting begin to shift. 

Gesture Sign Art is the first exhibition in the world to present works of art that take shape at the interstices of deaf and hearing culture. In the process, social, cultural and political hierarchies become visible.

In Germany, the sign language performer and artist Gunter Trube (1960–2008) played a significant role in the struggle for the recognition of sign language culture. From 1980 onwards, exhibition co-curator Wolfgang Müller collaborated with Gunter Trube on various projects such as Die Tödliche Doris.


Gebärde Zeichen Kunst. Gehörlose Kultur / Hörende Kultur. Gesture Sign Art. Deaf Culture / Hearing Culture,  Martin Schmitz Verlag, Berlin 2012. With texts by Dirksen L.-Bauman, Martin Büsser, Barbara Eder, Susanne Foellmer, Matthias Mergl, Wolfgang Müller, An Paenhuysen,  Thomas Vollhaber; and interviews with Christine Sun Kim, Gunter Trube

The catalogue is funded by Kunstfonds and Hauptstadtkulturfonds.

Event: Friday, 9 November 2012, 8 p.m.: performance by Christine Sun Kim

Accompanying Program:

November 18 and December 16, 2012: Guide tour (with DGS-Interpretation)

January 10, 2013: Curators talk, Wolfgang Müller and An Paenhuysen in conversation with Stéphane Bauer, director of Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.

From November 9 onwards: Wolfgang Müller, Séance 2. Ein Gebärdenspiel, Bayerischer Rundfunk, 2012: from November 9 onwards in the artmix.galerie:

and with the support of Aktion Mensch, in cooperation with Sinneswandel gGmbH:

Signmark in SO36, January 13, 2013

see video online:

Workshop Gehörlose Musik, experimental workshop for deaf and hearing children, December 8-9 December 2012.  DVD available! 

Foto: Malte Ludwigs

Photos: Malte Ludwigs 

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