Invited by the Kunstmuseum, Aotearoa New Zealand artist Ruth Buchanan (*1980, Te Atiawa and Taranaki, lives and works in Berlin) continues her investigation into the relationships between institutions such as archives, libraries, or museums and their publics. The exhibition “Heute Nacht geträumt”, which translates as “Dreamt Tonight”, asks how these relationships could be shaped otherwise. Departing from the specific context of the paper factory on the Rhine, which was converted into a museum for contemporary art in the late 1970s, she pursues the narratives inscribed in the architecture. These manifold components become part of an engine of research that examines the building itself, the surrounding area, its exhibition history, its visitors, and especially the works of art which it has housed since it opened in 1980. The exhibition title stems from the eponymous painting by internationally renowned artist Miriam Cahn. Recently acquired for the collection, “heute nacht geträumt (meine werkstatt in N.Y.)” (2011) elicits Buchanan’s desire to reconsider the paradigms under which a museum might function.
Buchanan’s approach to exhibition making circumvents much of standardised institutional practice. The political dimension of systems of order and spatial situations are at the center of her artistic work. Collection work, museum routing, and furniture design are all incorporated into her expansive installations that ask us to reconsider the parameters under which we participate and produce public life. Buchanan has realised commissions at, amongst others, the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Tate Modern, London; Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju; Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe; Adam Art Gallery, Wellington and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth In 2018 she was awarded the Walters Prize, the pre-eminent prize for an Aotearoa New Zealand artist.