Honey, I Rearranged The Collection

#2 Help Me Hurt Me. Between Care and Cruelty
Nan Goldin (*1953), The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1992, 45 min, Projektionsinstallation mit 720 Kleinbilddias (9 Dia-Projektoren, 1 Steuergerät, 3 Programmboxen, 1 Programm/ Tonband), © Nan Goldin

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The Hamburger Kunsthalle is now presenting the second part of its exhibition trilogy HONEY, I REARRANGED THE COLLECTION: Help Me Hurt Me. Between Care and Cruelty. In three acts, the trilogy delves into fundamental areas of human experience: relationships with things, with others, and with space.

The Kunsthalle is fortunate to have in its collection international artworks marking pivotal moments in contemporary art such as Bruce Nauman’s room-filling video installation “Anthro/Socio (Rinde Spinning)” (1992), Nan Goldin’s multipart slide work “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (1992) and Gerhard Richter’s painting cycle “S. with Child” (1995). These works deal compellingly with people as social beings caught up in complex interdependencies with partners, families and various groups. The exhibition, whose title quotes a line of from Nauman’s above-named video installation, explores the tension-charged push and pull between helping and hurting that always characterises interpersonal relationships. In the process, it touches on anthropological constants such as loneliness, love, hatred, grief and hope, which are experienced subjectively and individually and yet always arise in a reciprocal give and take with one or more other individuals.

The show is dedicated to Bruce Nauman (born 1941) on his 75th birthday.  “Anthro/Socio (Rinde Spinning)” is widely regarded as one of the most important works of the internationally renowned artist. “My work comes out of being frustrated about the human condition. And about how people refuse to understand other people. And about how people can be cruel to each other,” remarked Nauman in a 1987 interview. The male head in Nauman’s video alternately shouts “Help me” and “Hurt me” as it revolves around itself: a moving appeal by a lone individual to his fellow human beings.

The title HONEY, I REARRANGED THE COLLECTION was borrowed from a group of works from the late 1960s by the American artist Allen Ruppersberg (b. 1944) in which he makes dozens of sensible and yet humorous or absurd suggestions on how to reorganise a collection.

Help Me Hurt Me. Between Caring and Cruelty is the second part of the trilogy that began with The Magic of Things. Perfidious Objects (April 2016 to February 2017) and will conclude with Bouncing in the Corner. Surveying Space (2018).

Help Me Hurt Me. Between Care and Cruelty features works by:

Abramović / Ulay, Christian Boltanski, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rebecca Horn, Gustav Kluge, Paul McCarthy, Annette Messager, Bruce Nauman, Sigmar Polke, Daniel Richter, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Schütte, Jeff Wall, Andy Warhol and others.

The restoration of the slide-based work “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” by Nan Goldin was made possible by the Schoof'sche Stiftung and the Wüstenrot Stiftung.