Elske Rosenfeld

Work exhibited in the Trade Fair Palace:

Archive of Gestures: Speaking (Statements for the Future) / 2019–2022 / video installation (15 min) / courtesy of the artist

Archive of Gestures: Speaking (Statements for the Future), 2019–2022, Biennale Matter of Art 2024, National Gallery Prague – Trade Fair Palace (c) Jonáš Verešpej

Elske Rosenfeld (lives in Berlin, b. Halle (Germany), 1974) is an artist who pays close attention to how society changes during social uprisings and revolutions. In her works, Rosenfeld doesn’t just rely on historical facts, but also looks at the experiences of people who were there and how they felt in their bodies. She created an Archive of Gestures to help learn from these experiences. The Archive of Gestures is a collection of records, traces, events, and speeches that helped bring about change in society. A gesture is a simple movement of the body that expresses an idea or statement. You can repeat it or perform it from one revolution to the next. The work gives examples of different actions during protests in different countries. The Arab Spring was about circling – protesters kept moving while remaining in place. During the democratic uprisings in Germany, people were interrupting official meetings and gatherings. During the Gezi Park protests in Turkey people were standing still. At Matter of Art she presents the gesture of speaking. She reads political statements from different groups in East Germany in 1989– 1990 – striking workers, gay activists, and feminist groups. These groups were fighting against the government and for their rights. The artist acknowledges these voices and their struggles against the corrupt state but also the unification of Germany under capitalism. The voices mix together to create a statement for a better future.

From the artist's archive

Elske Rosenfeld (b. 1974, Halle, German Democratic Republic) works in different media and formats. Her primary focus and material are the histories of state socialism, its dissidences, and the revolution of 1989/90. Her ongoing project Archive of Gestures investigates how political events manifest and come to be archived in the bodies of their protagonists. Her works have been featured in international exhibitions at Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design Nürnberg (2023), Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (2022), 12th Berlin Biennale (2022), Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (2020–21), Goethe Institute Moscow (2020), Palast der Republik, Haus der Berliner Festspiele (2019), f/stop Leipzig (2018), 3. Berliner Herbstsalon (2017), mumok kino, Vienna (2016), steirischer herbst, Graz (2015), Devi Art Foundation, Delhi (2013), and Former West, Utrecht (2010), among others. In 2018, together with Suza Husse, Rosenfeld organized the project wild recuperations. material from below: Artistic Research in the Archive of the GDR Opposition. In 2019 she co-curated the festival Palast der Republik at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Her texts have been published in Berliner Tagesspiegel, Der Freitag, Deutschland Archiv (BzpB), Berliner Hefte, eipcp.net, Reviews in Cultural Theory, Springerin – Hefte für Gegenwartskunst, and other publications.