Up in Arms

28 September - 15 December 2019
Opening on Friday, 27 September from 07:00 - 11:00 PM
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien
Berlin, Germany

Artists: Lana Čmajčanin, Jill Gibbon, Vanessa Gravenor, John Heartfield, Sonia Hedstrand, Ana  Hoffner ex-Prvulovic, Regina José Galindo, Hiwa K., Peter Kennard, Dani Ploeger, Walid Raad, Julian Röder, Lorenzo Sandoval, Beatrice Schuett Moumdjian, Hito Steyerl, Alma Suljević, Hadas Tapouchi, Cengiz Tekin, Constantine Zlatev

Organized by: nGbK - neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst

nGbK project group: Ayşe Güngör, Cassandra Mehlhorn, Gabriela Seith, Amalie Sølling-Jørgensen, Johanna Werner

Participants: Adopt a Revolution, Aktion Aufschrei – Stoppt den Waffenhandel!, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Global Net – Stop the Arms Trade, LobbyControl, urgewald

The arms industry is regularly embroiled in controversy when it is revealed that representatives of the arms trade sit on the board of New York’s Whitney Museum, when the suspension of German arms exports to Saudi Arabia is only short term or when the arms trade plays a big part in European border control. The project »Up in Arms« brings these issues into the exhibition space, calls for transparency in the arms trade and highlights its local as well as global connections.

Security, defence, diplomacy – these alleged principles of the arms industry seem initially reasonable and even desirable. Who could object? They are in fact a PR strategy which covers up the unpleasant and conflicting repercussions of the business.

»Up in Arms« has its focus on the downsides of the industry. Through artworks, the project affords a more detailed insight into the arms trade and its often overlooked ramifications. The artist Hito Steyerl investigates the origins of a machine gun bullet that killed a friend, thereby revealing links between the arms industry and the art world. Lana Čmajčanin’s work maps the use of the FN M1910 handgun and shows where this pistol has influenced world history. Other artists have visited armament trade fairs and illustrate their absurdity in various works. The exhibition shows works by artists who have personally encountered weapons and violence alongside material documenting the arms industry’s historical and global network.
Metaphorically, ›Up in Arms‹, the artworks shed light on the arms trade’s network. Its ramifications need to be made more tangible, because security never means the safety of all people, defence is always defence against others and a diplomacy which serves the interests of the arms industry is not a diplomatic solution.

»Up in Arms« is an exhibition and research project that deals with the structures of the local and international arms industry. The exhibition presents the perspectives of artists and their critical analysis of the industry. Additionally, artworks installed in public space - as part of the 2019 »Art in the Underground« competition - and a map published on the project website will draw attention to the main players in the arms industry in Berlin.

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin

The exhibition Up in Arms is a project by nGbK in cooperation with Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien

More information:
Up in Arms