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Leon Kahane

Image and Background
19–31 July 2021

Leon Kahane, installation view
Jerricans to can Jerry,
Periode 2020
, 2020, 4K video, 5 minutes, 20 jerricans, installation view.

Course format
Hybrid class

Either Fortress Hohensalzburg (on site) or online*

Teaching Language
English and German

What to bring
Laptop/tablet with camera and microphone, camera or mobile phone, personal working materials, portfolio.


Maximum number of participants
12 on site, 6 online

Participation fee
€ 640,– (€ 480,–)

Historiography is a continuous process. For an image to be classified iconographically, it needs to be placed in its historical context. Thus, the examination of an image, or any form of representation, means to know the circumstances of its origin.

Art cannot be created independently of or uninfluenced by its circumstances; self-evident as that may be for the retrospective consideration of art, just as it is self-evidently valid for the immediate present. We are in a moment of history where recognising facts and truths has to be defended arduously against arbitrary and unfounded assertions. For art (or the artist), this likewise entails orientation, classification and positioning within the multiplicity of icons, images and representations.

Students in this course consider the relation of history and its critical analysis of the present dynamics. In particular, they learn what role art and culture can assume in different contexts and what imputations and abuses it has to guard. In group and one-to-one discussions, we will discuss students' formal and thematic approaches.

On the one hand, the course aims to find out what meaning contemporary art positions entail and, on the other, to enable participants to develop methods for establishing, classifying and maintaining such a positioning more clearly.

*If necessary, the course may be held exclusively online.

Leon Kahane, born in Berlin in 1985, creates conceptual video works, photographs and installations that centre on themes of migration, identity and coming to terms with majorities and minorities in a globalised society. His interest frequently focuses on geopolitical and social changes of the recent past. Time and again he calls attention to events and institutions that express the contradictions inherent in history. They reflect historical, political, economic and biographical aspects, which he takes up and explores in his works.

Especially the socio-cultural situatedness of current political debates and dynamics is central to his artistic approach, which is a form of cultural critique.

2021 Les Drancéens, Kunst im Traklhaus, Salzburg (AT). 2020 Jerricans to Can Jerry, Leipzigerstrasse 61, Berlin. 2019 Sag Shibbolet, Jewish Museum Munich, Munich (DE). Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, NS-Dokumentationszentrum Munich, Munich. 2018 Sag Shibbolet, Jewish Museum Hohenems, Hohenems (AT). Brauchen wie einen linken Populismus, ACUD MACHT NEU, Berlin. Der Wert der Freiheit, Belvedere 21, Vienna. 2017 ars viva 2017, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (DE). How to live together, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. Conditions of Political Choreography, NBK, Berlin. Dejima, GAK, Bremen (DE). Belonging to a Place, Scrap Metal Gallery, Toronto (CA). 2016 For Official Use Only, GFZK Leipzig, Leipzig (DE). L’exposition Imaginaire, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. ars viva 2017, kunstmuseum kloster unser lieben frauen, Magdeburg (DE). Pas de Deux, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. 2015 Republic of Boxes, uqbar, transmediale, Berlin. The Future of Memory, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. How to Live Together, 6th Moscow Biennale, Moscow. 2014 Disappearing Things, 55th October Salon, Belgrade. 2013 The World Is Stable Now, Gallery Alexander Levy, Berlin. Idiopolis, ReMap 04, Athens. Seen By, Museum für Photographie, Berlin. 2012 The History of Now, F-Stop Festival for Photography, Leipzig. Desertmed, NGBK, Berlin. 2011 Exit Strategies with Fabian Bechtle, Artitude Art Association, Berlin. Melanchotopia, Witte de With, Rotterdam (NL). 2010 final degree exhibition of Ostkreuz School for Photography. Glaube Liebe Hoffnung, c/o Berlin.

2018 Founding of the Forum Democratic Culture and Contemporary Art
2014 Residency in Hong Kong
2011–14 Assistant to Hito Steyerl
2010 Assistant to Wolfgang Tillmans
2010 (ongoing) Student at the University of the Arts, Visual Arts faculty, Berlin
2007–10 Photographic studies at Ostkreuzschule in Berlin.
Leon Kahane
photo: Hermann Bredehorst