HUMAN FACES / Rahel Bruns

Rahel Bruns an artist who has been producing art works in the motif of the worlds surrounding her and the strangeness she feels in her everyday life. Over the two years from 2011, she had been carrying out a project on the theme of the people coming in and out of the port of Veddel in Hamburg which previously helped many Nati victims escape and presently accepts a lot of immigrants. Rahel Bruns will, while looking back on the history of the ports, produce a parade of people who maintain hope for the future by overlapping Yokohama being a creative port city that has been continuously developed by various cultures and people over its 150 year history since the opening with the port of Veddel in Hamburg.

In this exhibition, a collection of human “faces” will make its appearance over the entire glass window as a dynamic parade by the hands of Rahel Bruns. Such collection of human faces is composed of many people who could have passed by each other at this place. It covered faces from the public and tourists visiting Zou-no-hana Terrace and those who are involved in this exchange project. When you look over this installation against the ocean from Zou-no-hana Terrace, the faces displayed on such work and those of the people coming and going who can be seen over the glass are being mixed up, creating an opportunity for you to think about the connection between individuals.   

For the second time, Port Journey network opens the stage for an artist from Hamburg connecting the two harbor cities  with arts and thoughts on common grounds. The idea of these  artists conversation is to initiate new perspectives to cities as platforms for creativity and ideas as a social aesthetic common venture.

Rahel Bruns is an artist, who opens her artic praxis to the public space. She is an activist for a careful understanding on how neighborhoods could get together and draw a common picture of their colorful, different and unique exists. By showing faces of the other, Rahel shows both the interest in the daily life of the one next door and the knowledge of ourselves  to be the same of each counterpart – by facing the other we learn to mirror ourselves  – I see you, you see me, and we see us.

Using the big windows of Zou-no-hana Terrace as screens, Rahel Bruns transforms the surface of the building to a medium which turns it inside out and vice versa as well as the private to the public and individual to the political recognition of our faces as a statement.  This resumes us to intensive actions of social, cultural and psychological negotiations. At the same time Rahel Bruns brings up various questions, such as of the history of the portrait itself and also of contemporary issues like digitalization, social media and the phenomenon of the individual. A flood of pictures taken and uploaded on severs worldwide promise to recognize oneself  through “clicks” and “likes”. Our faces on the screens of the other’s devices mock us to understand who we are in this world in times of biometrics and face detection.

Michael Kress Artist/Curator,
Hyper Cultural Passengers

But arriving in Yokohama and starting to install the work in Zou-no-hana Terrace all possible problems turned into opportunities and advantages.

My self-imposed task for Yokohama: a site-specific installation for a space as demanding as interesting (both architectural and content related) as Zou-no-hana Terrace that transmits both: joy and depth and that embraces both: my artistic position as well as daily Zou-no-hana-visitors of whom the majority wouldn’t be the typical art loving museum visitor, but a multitude of diverse people with very different occupations, dreams and talents. Could be difficult? Yes!

The Zou-no-hana Terrace staff, the motivated volunteers and the high quality material as well as the intensity of the portraits brought an energetic and joyful dynamic that lasted from the first moment over the workshops until the closing of the exhibition.

For me personally it was strange and wonderful to meet people in real I did know (very well) from working their photos in the computer and to whom I had related therefore in a very special way and to see how they themselves now related to their photographed portrait in the new context.

To see how connections and stories evolved between single portraits by installing them in a certain way connecting them to each other.

To experience how people started to play with the installation searching for themselves or taking photos using the transparent photos on the windows and passers-by behind them for intensive effects.

And finally the workshops: Concentration, excitement and laughter of the participants irrespective of age, talent or pre-training.

If you’d ask me what I expect from a project like this, I can tell you about one moment when an elder and very strict looking man, helping with my work after one week first time talked to me and said: “when I look at the installation I always become so happy”. Well, thats all I need.