Ulrike OTTINGER [english] > Exhibitions > Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Floating Food

Floating Food

It’s an exhibition that transforms the entire Haus der Kulturen der Welt into a cosmos of imagery. Ulrike Ottinger, the filmmaker, photographer and collector of worlds, is arranging a comprehensive collage covering four decades of her creative work: “Water and food are elementary necessities for humanity. So where should we even begin to understand these things that meander through all areas of our physical and psychological lives? It has always been my artistic principle to adapt myself to these things, and to join the flow of their nature and their primordial conditions.“

Her copious exhibition runs the gamut from antiquity to modernity, along waterways and through fictitious and real worlds: it begins in the foyer, where a water basin, based on the Cisterna Basilica in Istanbul, playfully alludes to maritime trade between Asia and Europe. By presenting sequences from her films such as “Taiga“, “Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia“ or “China: Die Künste – Der Alltag“ (“China: The Arts, The People”), Ulrike Ottinger lends plasticity to the
triad of water, food and ritual. Still and moving images take us on a journey through cookshops, harbors, markets and temples, to the Mongolian slaughter ritual and Mexican sacrificial altars.
Her allegorical installations project landscapes full of sensuality, with mythical creatures and figures from an artist who will be honored with the Hannah Höch Prize this year. Ulrike Ottinger is also celebrating the premiere of her film „Unter Schnee“ (“Under Snow”) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Further highlights include discussions, a performance by the Nan Jombang Dance Company and a concert by Ubiet & Kroncong Tenggara from Indonesia.
(Haus der Kulturen der Welt)

Ulrike Ottinger and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt

There is hardly a German artist who, in terms of her attitude, her method, and the content of her work, represents the spirit of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt better than Ulrike Ottinger.


Whether working in photography or film, Ottinger never claims to portray the world as it is, but rather as she sees it. This is true of both her documentary works, in which she presents slices of reality, and her fictional works, in which she creates worlds.


Her works are the enactment of poetic experience. They begin with the object. Ottinger is fascinated by objects; she collects them, stores them, repeatedly returns to them, is enchanted by them. Her receptivity to objects and her trust in their allure can be seen in many places in her oeuvre—such as when she eschews classical editing techniques and camera shots, filming a ritual battle scene in a single thirty-minute take, or when her camera seems to lose itself in the cultural technique of the perfect preparation of noodles.

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