The Archive Show
Animating 100 years of E-WERK history through contemporary art
Curated by Adriana Tranca with Artistic Direction from Helen Turner
1 May – 18 July 2021


Jenna Sutela in collaboration with Markus Shimizu, Mimi Ferments Berlin, Spit Drink, 2021

Archives and scores have one important common characteristic: performativity. The archive’s latent potential coupled with the many narratives and interpretations it incorporates, makes it tensioned with possibilities to order and to reformulate all the elements and fragments it contains. Similarly, the score, with its indefinite possibilities to manifest new compositions, is a perfect vehicle to explore the conceptual implications of an archive.

For forthcoming exhibition The Archive Show, E-WERK has commissioned six contemporary artists to explore both the visible and invisible narratives of its century old archives. Acknowledging that the archive is never static nor does it simply pertain to the past, E-WERK now invites contemporary artists to interpret the stories that are yet to be read and written through the structuring principle of the ‘score.’

Since E-WERK Luckenwalde was built in 1913 as a coal power station it has been shape shifting and adapting to time. In 2019, after 30 years of lethargy, artistic not-for-profit enterprise Performance Electrics gGmbH reanimated E-WERK Luckenwalde into a renewable Kunststrom power station and contemporary art centre, reclaiming the building’s original function and turning the power back ON. Over 100 years, the building has amassed an impressive collection of records including building plans, blueprints, technical improvements, documentation of engineering and economic practice, reports and correspondence letters.

Every fortnight in May and June 2021, each artist will present their devised score performatively through their chosen medium, including a performative ritual, DJ set, fermentation workshop or video installation. Throughout the exhibition period (until 18 July 2021), the performances-related paraphernalia will be on view in Gallery One.

The Archive Show is thus a collection of responsive scores as abstract interpretations, which aims to de-officialise history, question knowledge management, how we project value and decide what and what not to collect for prosperity.

As a digital satellite to the exhibition, E-WERK will present a German and English podcast series, inviting each artist to host a discussion with a theoretician, scientist, historian or other professionals of their choice. Audiences will also be invited to join tours with E-WERK’s Zeitzeugen (contemporary witnesses) including a German historian; and Pablo Wendel, E-WERK’s Co-Artistic Director and Kunststrom inventor. Over the course of the exhibition audiences will also have the opportunity to learn from a professional archivist's discoveries, who will explore the archive live in the gallery spaces.

The exhibition is curated by Adriana Tranca, Assistant Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde with artistic direction from Helen Turner, Artistic Director and Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde.