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International Comparison


From Saturday 6 July to Friday 20 December 2024

The art of Raphaela Vogel portrays a strangeness that is very specific to our period, the kind in which hopes – which cannot really be projected into the future without clashing with a kind of techno-politico-environmental apocalypse – find nothing better than to turn to the past, its myths, nostalgia, and “golden age”. In which we cling to an inverted, retrofuturist, and hence illusory promise. Already described as neo-romantic[1] in the Germanic sense of the term, her art expresses this mood through the intermediary of found objects of various origins, sometimes “antiques”, used as they are, in singularly structured installations. These recuperated elements of random value are often associated with more recent technological apparatuses. These assemblages sometimes become multimedia installations, projecting videos in which the artist stages herself in various environments, ranging from domestic space to vast outdoor landscapes. This entanglement between past and future tends to blend in more than it contrasts within the artist’s world.
Her work confronts monumentality in art history, in classical sculpture symbolising power in public space. Her artistic experimentation contributes a way of thinking about how monumentality shapes myths, history, and notably that of empires, through animal allegories. This external symbolism of power, this relationship of scale in relation to bodies and through experience are constantly tested in the artist’s installations, which reveal a fragility inherent to any form of supposedly immutable power. The pastiche of monumentality in Raphaela Vogel’s works thus appears precarious, rusted up, suspended, ready to fall, and on the verge of destruction. Even the most high-tech elements featured in them are already obsolete or about to become so. The planned obsolescence of our world, caught in an eternal headlong rush, thus becomes one of the subjects of this new form of romanticism crafted by Raphaela Vogel, in a vision inspired by nineteenth-century culture – marked by changes of paradigm deriving from the industrial revolution – like the incorporation of machines into contemporary subjectivities. This techno-romantic atmosphere is accompanied by paintings with ‘soft’ structures, at once figurative and composed of broad streaks of earthy or coloured matter, shapeless, resolutely expressionistic, and highly energetic in their gesturality. They appear on animal hides brought together in triangular forms, containing floating and amorphous materials whose monstrosity is unsettling.
The importance given to animal representations evokes the archetypal constructs of the collective subconscious. Rather “feminine”, giraffes and spiders oppose the “masculinism [2]" of the lion and eagle, allowing the artist to present a degree of femininity, at once mistreated by the system but also unattainable, mysterious, and unnerving. The artist is constantly playing on some of the clichés of femininity in her works, responding through a touch of humour and the incursion of venomous sensations.
Entitled International Comparison, her exhibition at the former synagogue of Delme belongs to a series of projects[3] whose central figure is the German Jewish writer Erich Hopp (1888–1949) whom the artist discovered when she bought a house in Eichwalde[4], where he had lived in hiding for three years with his family up until the liberation by the Red Army in 1945. A little-known author today, the artist rehabilitates him in her own way, just as she pays homage to his written work, presenting various facets of it over the course of this series. On the ground floor, Raphaela Vogel presents a monumental installation, Elephant’s Memory (Memorial Structure) (2023), a kind of fragile memorial erected in honour of the artists and activists of the past, victims of racism and fascism. Hollow sculptures of elephants, symbolising memory, scale an old florist kiosk. Retro loudspeakers broadcast the tango “Jede Frau ist Schön” (“All Women Are Beautiful”) composed by Carla Boehl, who was Miss Germany 1930, written by Erich Hopp and sung by Raphaela Vogel. At the end of a mast, like a flag, floats a painting of the memorial for Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, as it was devised by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, built in Berlin in 1926, then destroyed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1935.  Only a few photographs from the building’s façade have survived today and we have no further information about its size. Similarly, the tango was never recorded and only its scores and lyrics remain. Added to this is the presence within the memorial of a plan for Rosa Luxemburg Square in Berlin (1992), by German-Brazilian Jewish landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, which was never undertaken. Through this triangulation, Elephant’s Memory (Memorial Structure) not only pays tribute to the artists and activists, but also to the art objects and creations now lost forever. By installing her memorial inside the synagogue, the artist thus establishes a dialogue with the dark hours of Delme’s history[5], and recalls the duty of memory of fascist destruction that must be upheld by all, both then and now.
Upstairs (dedicated to women, when the synagogue was in use) a series of sculptures presents sets of old pharmacy scales on which are delicately placed photographs of women from across the globe who were selected in the thirties to become “Miss Universe”. Not far away, a Louis de Funès mask – an ambivalent favorite of the artist – observes and somewhat absurdly and facetiously compares the beauty of these women. It looks at his - somehow - German equivalent Heinz Rühmann, who also seems to compare women on an old film poster, personifying the most stereotypically French character for German audiences: Maigret. If Raphaela Vogel has chosen to present the unnuanced concept of comparison through the reduction of these women to objects of desire, she has done so in order to more readily associate current debates, causing us to ponder which events, acts, or historical personalities can legitimately be compared. Beyond this contemporary reference, the artist also strives to observe the extent to which capitalist competition blights social relations and aesthetic criteria, based on which a person, a work of art, or an object will be recognised or rejected.
A new Raphaela Vogel’s monograph will be soon published in partnership with Kunsthalle Gießen and Franz and Walther König, Cologne.
The CAC - la synagogue de Delme and Raphaela Vogel would like to thank Diedrich Diederichsen, BQ gallery in Berlin, Susanne Prinz, Nadia Ismail, Juliette Desorgues, Antoine Granier, Valentin Wattier and the Delme municipal employees.

[1] In this respect, see the text “Hopeless Romantic” by Kristian Vistrup Madsen accompanying the collective exhibition, FUTURA, Prague, 2021.

[2] Masculinism is most often defined as a reactionary, misogynous, androcentric, and antifeminist movement. 

[3] Presented at the Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and the BQ Gallery in Berlin in 2023, at the Petzel Gallery in New York, and the Kunstverein in Heidelberger in 2024.

[4] Eichwalde is a town near Berlin.

[5] The synagogue of Delme was largely destroyed by the Nazis in 1945.

Raphaela Vogel (Nuremberg, 1988) studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nuremberg. She lives and works in Berlin. 

Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg; Petzel Gallery, New York; De Pont - Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg; BQ, Berlin; Public green at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin; Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich and Milan; Galerie Mayer Kainer, Vienna; Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers; Kunsthalle Gießen, Gießen; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel; Kunstpalais, Erlangen; Westfälischer Kunstverein, Munster; Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn. .. 

Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions at Petzel Gallery, New York ; Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich ; Kunsthalle Tübingen, Tübingen ; Kunstverein Bielefeld, Bielefeld ; BQ, Berlin ; Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève ; Kunsthalle Trier, Trier ; Galerie Meyer Kainer, Vienna; 59th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition; Kunst Museum Winterthur, Winterthur; Creamcake, Berlin; Futura, Prague; Beaufort Triennial; Kunstverein Hamburg; Contemporary Fine Arts Galerie, Berlin; Berghain & Boros Foundation, Berghain, Berlin; De Pont - Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg; Kunsthalle Bremen; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Exile, Vienna; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong; Foundation Vincent van Gogh, Arles; Foundation Cartier, Paris; Kunstverein Braunschweig, Brunswick; Maxwell Graham/Essex Street, New York; Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund; Nam June Paik Art Center, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea...

From Sunday 7 July to Sunday 15 December 2024 - 4.00PM
Guided tour of the exhibition International Comparison by Raphaela Vogel every Sunday at 4 PM by Sarah Viollon, in charge of mediation at the art center.  Free, reservation not required.  

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Saturday 20 July 2024 - 9.30AM
The exhibition International Comparison by the artist Raphaela Vogel at the CAC - la synagogue de Delme and her participation in the group exhibition My Last Will at the Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain, is an opportunity to forge links between two neighbouring venues devoted to contemporary art. Through the work of Raphaela Vogel, questions of memory and heritage will be the...

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Wednesday 24 July 2024 - 9.30AM
Play-workshop around the current exhibition.  From 9.30am to 11am at the CAC - la synagogue de Delme For children aged 7 and up. Free.  Reservation required with the Médiathèque : +33 (0)3 87 01 39 91.   

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Saturday 27 July 2024 - 3.00PM
The art centre is offering a workshop for children and their parents! Little ones and bigger ones can come and share a convivial moment playfully discovering works of art.    From 3pm to 4pm30 at the CAC -  la synagogue de Delme and the Gue(ho)st House. For children aged 5 to 12 accompanied by their parents.    Free. Reservation required : +33 (0)3...

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Wednesday 21 August 2024 - 2.00PM
Led by the artist Katia Mourer and an employee in art mediation of the art center, these workshops allow children to discover the current exhibition through a playful, concrete approach to the exhibited works. From 2pm to 5pm at the CAC - la synagogue de Delme - Gue(ho)st House. For children aged 6-11 Free. Reservation required : +33 (0)3 87 01 43 42...

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Wednesday 18 September 2024 - 10.00AM
Discovery of the current exhibition through a sensitive approach of the artworks: observation, listening, experimentation.  An exploration filled with emotions and sensations ! From 1 to 3 years old. From 10 AM to 10.45 AM.  Free. Reservation required: / 03 87 01 17 88.   This event is organised in partnership with the Early Childhood...

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Wednesday 18 September 2024 - 2.00PM
Teachers will be welcomed by Camille Grasser, head of education program, and Dorian Masiello, relay teacher, for an introduction to the exhibition International Comparison by Raphaela Vogel.  Wednesday September 18th 2024 at the synagogue from 2pm to 3.30pm.  

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From Saturday 21 September to Sunday 22 September 2024 - 3.00PM
On the occasion of the 40th edition of the European Heritage Days, the CAC - la synagogue de Delme offers you : "Heritage and contemporary art" guided tour Discover the former Delme synagogue, which has been a contemporary art centre since 1993, and International Comparison an exhibition by artist Raphaela Vogel. To coincide with the exhibition, the artist Raphaela...

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Wednesday 25 September 2024 - 2.00PM
Led by the artist Katia Mourer and an employee in art mediation of the art center, these workshops allow children to discover the current exhibition through a playful, concrete approach to the exhibited works. From 2pm to 5pm at the CAC - la synagogue de Delme - Gue(ho)st House. For children aged 6-11 Free. Reservation required : +33 (0)3 87 01 43 42...

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From Tuesday 1 October to Thursday 31 October 2024
To accompany the guided tour of the exhibition by Benoît Lamy de La Chapelle, director of the art center, the Syndicat des Viticulteurs de Moselle will be offering a tasting of wines from vineyards of the area. In October (date to be confirmed)

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Thursday 24 October 2024 - 6.00PM
WITH EUGENIA USANDIVARAS AND LEO CALVELLI In her interpretation of the tango Jede Frau ist Schön (All women are beautiful), Raphaela Vogel pays tribute to and brings to life the work of Carla Boehl and Herich Hopp. For Robert Farris Thompson, tango is not only a brilliant dance, it is also a text, a music, an art and a philosophy of life. This is also the vision of dancers Eugenia...

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Wednesday 13 November 2024 - 2.00PM
Led by the artist Katia Mourer and an employee in art mediation of the art center, these workshops allow children to discover the current exhibition through a playful, concrete approach to the exhibited works. From 2pm to 5pm at the CAC - la synagogue de Delme - Gue(ho)st House. For children aged 6-11 Free. Reservation required : +33 (0)3 87 01 43 42...

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