The artist deals with the idea of land in various forms. Land can signify home and provide roots, or refer to a nourishing piece of earth. It can also, however, lead to inclusion or exclusion when it represents the idea of nationhood. Land can be owned or lived with. It can be taken away, destroyed, and made inaccessible to others. In Cockaigne – I am not sea, I am not land, we encounter a US American who has fled to Berlin to escape a long prison sentence, three diamond seekers in South Africa, a gay park worker in Yosemite National Park and people performing demonic Twelfth Night rituals in the alpine region. Lachauer does not assume the role of the distanced observer hidden behind the camera, but rather questions his own position by exploring socio-political issues concerning gender, identity, social class and nationhood. The title of the exhibition refers to the 1567 painting The Land of Cockaigne by Peter Brueghel the Elder. In the painting, Breughel depicts a land of milk and honey (English Cockaigne) as an ironic utopian counterpart to the everyday harshness of peasant life.
Curated by Cornelia Gockel and Susanne Touw