The installations, sculptures, textiles, and collages by the Polish-British artist Goshka Macuga (*1967 in Warsaw) challenge historiography. Her painstaking, detective-like research uncovers inconsistencies, pitfalls, and ambiguities in a supposedly linear narrative of the past. Macuga not only assumes the role of a historian but also of a curator and designer.
She investigates the history of the 20th century and repeatedly devotes her attention to the history of individual institutions. This catalog documents her detailed study of the Kestner Gesellschaft, an art association that was founded in 1916 at a time of radical change in society, politics, and art. Macuga links various narratives: as a result, an intricate network of different places, eras, people, and stories emerges.
The title “stairway to nowhere” refers to a sculpture created by Herbert Bayer who was a teacher at the Bauhaus. It shows an endless stair that has no beginning and no end and represents the idea that history runs in cycles which is a recurring theme in Macuga’s work. Another central subject of her art is the question of authorship. She explores it on various levels by adapting designs and integrating works by other artists into hers, or by collaborating with others to create joint works.
Macuga was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2008. Her work has been widely exhibited, for instance at Neues Museum in Nuremberg (2018), at Fondazione Prada in Milan (2016), at the New Museum in New York (2016), at Documenta 13 (2012), and at the Venice Biennale (2009).