Surya Gied: Godori – Battle of Flowers


Exhibition Dieter-Ruckhaberle-Award, curated by Suza Husse
April 01- May 22, 2022
GalerieETAGE at Museum Reinickendorf

Vernissage: Friday, April 01, 06:30pm
with a performance by SHIN Hyo Jin and Otto Oscar Hernández Ruiz
Artist Talk: Sunday, April 10, 03:00 pm, with Surya Gied and Suza Husse, and a concert by Zihern Lee (Gayageum / Korean zither)

With Surya Gied’s solo exhibition, Museum Reinickendorf and Künstlerhof Frohnau / KHF Berlin present a multi-layered artistic oeuvre, which interweaves painterly techniques with oral history, photography, sound and video works, performance, and sculpture. With Godori – Battle of Flowers Surya Gied creates forms and spaces for multidimensional historical narratives that explore the historical and contemporary living conditions and struggles of Korean migrants in Germany and Korean rice farmers.

The works in the exhibition connect various strands of narrative and experience into a collective biography of the artist’s grandparents house in Hwaho-Ri, Jeongub, a small village in rural South Korea. In two installations that combine painting, video, sound, and textile works, the house emerges in its material and social architecture. Through the stories of the women who currently inhabit and those who once lived in the house, its structures become manifest. The clay walls and roof mats of the house were replaced with stone and brick after Choonok Gied-Lee, the artist’s mother, emigrated to Germany and for years sent most of her monthly income as a health care worker to her family. As part of a generation of emigrants and migrant workers, she accelerated the South Korean economy during the military dictatorship by supporting her family. At the same time she helped save the West German health care system from a deep crisis together with fellow nurses of Korean, Indian and Filipino origin, who were recruited as “guest workers.”

Responding to questions from the artist, her aunts, mother, and grandmother recall different memories. They draw the house as a place of desires, alienation, and of struggle that is shaped by patriarchal structures and the capitalist devaluation of peasant labor and ecologies. Elsewhere, we hear their voices chatting and bantering, laughing and cursing while they are vividly engaged in a card game called Godori. The paintings presented in the exhibition are based on selected motifs from the 48 cards and were created at Künstlerhof Frohnau in the summer of 2021. The artist cooperative was founded in 1998 on the initiative of the artist, curator, and cultural politician Dieter Ruckhaberle. Until the late 1980s, the same buildings were part of a Mental Hospital, where several Korean nurses were employed. Surya Gied’s paintings reference this place by combining various material relics from its institutional and domestic infrastructure to create sculptural remixes.

Curator: Suza Husse
Director Museum Reinickendorf: Dr. Cornelia Gerner
Assistance: Katja Hock
Director Künstlerhof Frohnau/KHF Berlin: Kaya Behkalam
Artistic collaborators for the textile, video and sound works: Emma Cattell, Angelo Wemmje and Ray Kaczynski.

Press kit (low resolution PDF)
Press kit (high resolution, single images)

Surya Gied (*1980 Cologne) is a visual artist based in Berlin. She graduated from Berlin University of the Arts in 2008. In 2020 she received the research scholarship of the Berlin Senate and in 2021 the Dieter-Ruckhaberle-Award. In 2022 she was awarded a one-year fellowship from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYC and in 2022/23 she received the German Academy Rome Villa Massimo / Casa Baldi fellowship. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions worldwide, including: Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien Berlin, Hillyer Art Space in Washington DC, PyeongChang Biennale South Korea, University Delaware USA, Savvy Contemporary Berlin and Galerie Wedding Berlin.

The Dieter Ruckhaberle Prize is awarded to artists who in their work find innovative forms for addressing political subject matter. It has been initiated in 2019 by Künstlerhof Frohnau in cooperation with Kunstamt Berlin-Reinickendorf. The prize commemorates life and work of artist, curator and cultural politician Dieter Ruckhaberle. The award comes with a two months’ residency at KHF in Berlin, a production budget, an exhibition and/or publication.

The project has been supported by funds from the Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, the Ausstellungsfonds für die Kommunalen Galerien and the Fonds Ausstellungsvergütungen Bildende Künstlerinnen und Künstler.
Photos by Trevor Good.

Note: This exhibition opens in a time of urgent need for practices and stories of solidarity. We want to use this space of migrant culture and histories to support people who are affected by Russian war on Ukraine. To begin, we would like to share two forms of concrete solidarity:
* For supporting BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities who are facing immense discrimination on their routes from Ukraine we share the call for donations of the United4UA Coalition:
* Künstlerhof Frohnau has become a refuge for people who have fled from Ukraine. You can support our work by donating to Künstlerhof Frohnau e.V., IBAN: DE13 1007 0848 0353 4120 00. BIC: DEUTDEDB110.