Voices/ Stimmen

Retrospective exhibition 2023
Kunshaus Dresden
Curated by Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz and Vincent Schier
Installation team: Swantje Hinrichs, Peter Segor, Tomas Kobsch, Steffen Huhn, Jan Baszak
Photos: Anja Schneider

How do we make our voices heard on the threshold of a shared future? And how do we listen in a radically new way, so that human and non-human forms of life become perceptible again in their interconnectedness? Zorka Wollny’s artistic and musical works give physical and performative form to feelings of anger and fear, resistance, community, and empathy.

With “Voices / Stimmen“, Kunsthaus Dresden presents Zorka Wollny’s first solo exhibition in Germany and opens a view into an extraordinary oeuvre between performance and composition, collectivity and activism. Zorka Wollny’s projects are always collaborative and respond seismographically to questions of our time: the presence or absence of work, interactions between people and their environment, post-industrial landscapes, social participation, social justice and the experience of violence.

With “Singing Machine” in 2022, Zorka Wollny developed an architectural soundscape for the abandoned Hanover colliery, in which the influx of job seekers from „all over Europe“ is metaphorically taken up as a ‘flow of energy.’

“Let’s Make Noise, Sisters!” is a collaborative series of performances and installations developed over several months. The project was created in direct response to the restriction of women’s rights in Poland, particularly the tightening of abortion legislation since 2020. A total of 30 videos form the both intimate and defiant manifesto of a network of female artists against the oppressive political and social situation.

Resistance against rising rents and housing shortages is the starting point of “Eviction Songs”. The songs are based on personal experiences, newspaper texts, critical essays, opinions and slogans of activist groups and squatters, but also passages from the position papers of large and internationally active housing associations.

Zorka Wollny’s compositions explore approaches to empathy, listening, and healing, and activate the body as an instrument, among other things: like her performances developed with her band project Psychedelic Choir, which are based on whispers, breathing sounds, and animal noises, they are related to the musical awakenings of female composers of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Joan La Barbara or Meredith Monk, and at the same time open up radically new terrain.

curated by Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz, Kunsthaus Dresden and Vincent Schier

Zorka Wollny received the 2022 Art and Music Foundation Award for Dresden on the occasion of the foundation’s 10th anniversary.

The works shown in „Voices“ were created in Banská Štiavnica, Istanbul, Hanover, Warsaw, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Mombasa, Kilifi and Dresden, among other places.