During hibernation, the Berlin city bears were rarely seen in their outdoor enclosures. They mostly slept, were fed only inside the bear pit out of public view, and freed from their representative role. Periods of rest in which physiological processes shut down, mental tension subsides and where consciousness shifts between vague perception and purposeless actions, are disharmonious with neoliberal performance orientation.
“Hibernation” presents artistic positions which examine those conditions and effects of temporary withdrawal.
In her previous works, Linda Kuhn has addressed the withdrawal from goal-orientated action. In the outdoor enclosures of the bear pit, which align physical distance with comprehensive visibility, the Berlin-based artist obstructs the visitors’ views. With protective cladding for sculptures, she creates retreats for the elements found within the enclosures, and in the process, ascribes to them new plastic qualities.
By means of architectural interventions that circumvent habitual perceptual patterns, Alvaro Urbano deconstructs relations between inside and outside, dream and reality. Considering hibernation, he suspends the bear cages from their intended use and focuses on the imaginary potential of their immured and barred architecture. The question then of what bears dream about ultimately reflects hibernation itself as a space of the imaginary.
and Nadia Pilchowski