To mark 20 years of the Hamburger Bahnhof, which was inaugurated on 1 November 1996 as a further major branch of the Nationalgalerie, Christoph Büchel’s installation “Training Ground for Training Ground for Democracy” is on view in the main hall. The work is part of the generous donations by Friedrich Christian Flick to the Nationalgalerie and is being shown here for the first time since its creation in 2007 at Art Basel Miami Beach. Coinciding with the presidential elections in the USA on 8 November 2016, the installation raises questions about the running and lawfulness of democratic elections and about access to the ballot. Its siting of a polling station in a dystopian kindergarten is part of an interrogation of political, military, legal and cultural scenarios in American society that the artist has been pursuing for many years. The voting booths in the interior of the container, which is surrounded by fencing and fitted with surveillance cameras, make reference to the US election campaign of 2000, from which George W. Bush emerged as President by a very narrow margin. Suspended amidst the remains of a children’s party on the roof of the container, which is accessible via a ladder, is a leaflet bomb of the kind used to deliver propaganda material as part of psychological warfare. The Christmas decorations call to mind ubiquitous manifestations of hypercapitalism and the ambivalent holiday mood in US military camps.
The installation was shown as part of the permanent exhibition „Die Sammlungen. The Collections. Les Collections“.
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