On view at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin | JOHN KNIGHT

John Knight, The Right to be Lazy, 2007/09. Installation view, Endless Exhibition, Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, Ongoing

JOHN KNIGHT in Endless Exhibition
Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, Berlin
2007/09 – Ongoing

The Endless Exhibition encompasses 19 installations, interventions and sculptures from Hamburger Bahnhof’s collection, all of which are permanently present at the museum as an integral part of its interior and exterior spaces. Some of the artworks have been on view since Hamburger Bahnhof opened in 1996, while others were installed as part of solo exhibitions by artists. Others again were commissioned by the museum or donated to it. Their starting points, like the contexts in which they were created, differ widely: they make direct reference to the unusual architecture of the former railway station, lie hidden within the grounds, or take up the museum’s unusual location directly beside the former border between East and West Berlin.

As the site for his installation The Right to be Lazy, JOHN KNIGHT chose the circular garden with box topiary balls directly in front of the main building of Hamburger Bahnhof. His work as an artist lies in his stipulation that the museum may only tend the hedge running around the outside. All the other plants within the roundel are left to grow wild. For deliberate reasons, in other words, there is to be no intervening with garden shears. Thus the installation changes its appearance with the seasons and renders time and its workings palpable. The fact that rank growth in a central location appears side by side with formal gardens and a paved interior courtyard, is irritating to the eye. Visitors regularly complain about the museum’s would-be negligence when it comes to garden maintenance. For Knight, however, natural order here confronts human-made order. The focus is not upon doing nothing from a place of refusal – because the plants grow, convert light and produce oxygen unaffected by any human assistance. Only in this case unnatural overproduction and profitable processes are not at work. The “right to be lazy” that Knight has in mind here is a reasoned decision: to allow things their time.

The exhibition is conceived by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, directors of the Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, curated by Alice Koegel, Head of Exhibitions and Curator at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart.

For more information, please visit Hamburger Bahnhof's website.

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