Cluster of Excellence ’Temporal Communities’ to Hold Germany’s First Solo Exhibition of Argentine Artist Mirtha Dermisache

The "Mirtha Dermisache: To Be Read" exhibition will be hosted by A-Z, a space dedicated to experimental graphic design in Berlin, from June 7, 2024

Mirtha Dermisache, ’Sin título (postal),’ first issued by Guy Schrae
Mirtha Dermisache, ’Sin título (postal),’ first issued by Guy Schraenen éditeur as part of the set ’4 cartes postales,’ 1978 Image Credit: Maike Aden / Archivo Mirtha Dermisache
Since the late 1960s, the Argentine conceptual artist Mirtha Dermisache (1940-2012) has produced numerous enigmatic publications - from books, newspapers, and postcards, to letters, comics, posters, and bulletins - that contain marks resembling writing in both handwritten and typographic forms. The exhibition "Mirtha Dermisache: To Be Read," a cooperative project between the Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective" at Freie Universität Berlin and A-Z, a space for experimental graphic design in Berlin, will hold Germany’s first solo exhibition of the artist from June 7, 2024, to August 11, 2024. Taking inspiration from the artist’s own approach to making art accessible to the public, visitors to the exhibition will enjoy a hands-on experience and get the opportunity to browse facsimile copies of her books and journals. The exhibition will open on June 6, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. in the experimental graphic design space A-Z in Berlin-Mitte. The project space oxfordberlin in the neighborhood of Wedding will also be hosting an extension of the exhibition on site.

Largely produced under conditions of political repression during the military dictatorship in Argentina, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, the illegibility of Mirtha Dermisache’s publications itself can be read as a gesture of resistance, echoing the emptiness of state propaganda and marking her wish to keep "writing," publishing, and spreading her work, despite adverse circumstances. While Dermisache’s work has already been met with critical acclaim in parts of South America, the US, France, and Belgium, and the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) held a large-scale retrospective of the artist in 2017, she is still relatively unknown in Germany.

As her interest was not in producing precious works to be collected and displayed "like paintings," the exhibition’s title "To Be Read" can be understood both as an invitation to attend to Dermisache’s rich body of work and as a reflection on the artist’s desire to have her work circulated widely. This solo exhibition at A-Z will give people in Germany the chance to fully engage with Dermisache’s extensive oeuvre. Curator Dr. Regine Ehleiter from the Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective" and exhibition designer and co-initiator Anja Lutz from A-Z have created a space where visitors are expected and encouraged to touch, and in some cases even take away and disseminate items from the exhibition. Legado Mirtha Dermisache, the artist’s estate based in Buenos Aires, is also supporting the exhibition by donating objects that will later be made available to the wider public at Freie Universität Berlin’s libraries.

A free workshop held on June 7, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. by the Paris-based publisher of art books antoine lefebvre editions will allow participants to work together on a new issue of Asemic Journal. An array of international artists and scholars will also be presenting further artists’ publications with illegible writing at the hybrid event "Reading Artists’ Books: Asemic Writing" on July 18, 2024, from 6:30 p.m. The exhibition will close on August 11, 2024, with a guided tour and a visit to oxfordberlin.

Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective"

The Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities" reconceptualizes global literature, positing that literature’s temporal entanglements crucially contribute to it becoming global. Since 2019 it has been a dynamic and flexible platform for collaborative research by way of an extensive fellowship program, a global network of academic partner institutions, and cooperation with Berlin’s vibrant literary and artistic scene.

The Latin words veritas, justitia, and libertas, which frame the seal of Freie Universität Berlin, stand for the values that have defined the academic ethos of Freie Universität since its founding in December 1948.