Monday, February 22, 2010

The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place

Image: Oskar Schmidt, "Girl with Book", 2005. C-print, framed 100 x 128 cm. ©The artist. Courtesy: Zabludowicz Collection.


curated by Anna-Catharina Gebbers

25 February - 09 May, 2010

Private View: 25 February , 07:00 pm - 09:00 pm

176 / Zabludowicz Collection

176 Prince of Wales Rd

London NW5 3PT

As part of 176 / Zabludowicz Collection’s curatorial residency, Anna-Catharina Gebbers was given complete freedom to create an exhibition from the over 2,000 works in the Zabludowicz Collection. The result is a dramatic contrast to former presentations of works from the Collection.

With over 200 works exhibited, The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place will be the largest ever showcase of works from the Zabludowicz Collection. Anna-Catharina Gebbers invites us into a salon-style exhibition, a format which emphasises the deliberately overwhelming amount of contemporary works of art including painting, photography, sculpture and video.

Inspired by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges’ short story The Library of Babel, (1941) where inhabitants of an infinite library search for the absolute interpretation of the information around them, The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place encourages the visitor to embark on a similar quest for meaning.

While Anna-Catharina Gebbers generously empowers the visitors to draw their own conclusions from the Collection, seemingly incongruous works belie carefully disguised threads of meaning waiting to be uncovered and interpreted.

The Library of Babel: In and Out of Place questions my role as it places every visitor in the role of curator; the sheer number of works forces the visitor to chose which works will receive attention. I am interested in how these decisions are made.” Anna-Catharina Gebbers

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive public program where invited professionals and visitors alike are offered the chance to become Guides, conducting tours for the public. Discussing how and why our attention and perception is guided and exposing different ways of creating meaning within the exhibition.

There will be an accompanying series of lectures and panel discussions with experts including scientists and theorists from backgrounds as wide-ranging as neurology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, linguistics and literature; there will also be an illustrated publication with specially commissioned texts designed by Joff + Ollie.

Anna-Catharina Gebbers has been Guest Curator from 2009-10. This exhibition is the culmination of In and Out of Place, her project for the Zabludowicz Collection which examines the idea of collecting and collections from various perspectives. In August 2008, 176 / Zabludowicz Collection and Gebbers invited over 100 artists to be part of The Krautcho Club: In and Out of Place, a collection-based project exhibited in both Berlin and London. In September 2009 the second part of the residency took place at ANNA-CATHARINA GEBBERS | BIBLIOTHEKSWOHNUNG. Entitled V-Effekt / In and Out of Place it contained an archive of moving image works from the Zabludowicz Collection for visitors to browse alongside an installation of works from the Collection.


Rita Ackermann, Mark Alexander, Guy Allott, Helene Appel, Nobuyoshi Araki, Hope Atherton, Jimmy Baker, Uta Barth, Christiane Baumgartner, Luca Bertolo, Richard Billingham, Steve Bishop, John Bock, Martin Boyce, Robert Buck, David Burrows, Gillian Carnegie, Helen Chadwick, Spartacus Chetwynd, Colin Chillag and David Quan, Ross Chisholm, Larry Clark, Oliver Clegg, Dan Colen and Nate Lowman, Mat Collishaw, Gregory Crewdson, Russell Crotty, Aaron Curry, Sean Dack, José Damasceno, Gerald Davis, Kate Davis, Amie Dicke, Kim Dingle, Tomory Dodge, Giles Eldridge, Tracey Emin, Saul Fletcher, Richard Forster, Helen Frik, Tom Früchtl, Marcius Galan, Anna Galtarossa and Daniel Gonzalez, Ryan Gander, Anna Gaskell, Adrian Ghenie, Sebastian Gögel, Nan Goldin, Melissa Gordon, Andrew Grassie, Anthony Green, Brian Griffiths, Andreas Gursky, Wade Guyton, Falk Haberkorn, Neil Hamon, Anne Hardy, Alexander Heim, Uwe Henneken, Candida Höfer, Craigie Horsfield, Barnaby Hosking, Matthew Houlding, Thomas Houseago, Lora Hristova, Graham Hudson, Thomas Hylander, Takaaki Izumi, Noel Jabbour, Sveinn Fannar Jóhannsson, Sven Johne, Juneau Projects, Steffen Junghans, Tillman Kaiser, Mary Kelly, Rachel Kneebone, Terence Koh, Paul Kooiker, Skafte Kuhn, Friedrich Kunath, Alicja Kwade, Dr Lakra, Jim Lambie, Luisa Lambri, Michael Landy, Louise Lawler, Edgar Leciejewski, Glenn Ligon, Nathan Mabry, Fabian Marti, Eline McGeorge, Melissa McGill, Josephine Meckseper, Deborah Mesa-Pelly, Tracey Moffatt, Gareth Moore, Vik Muniz, Matthew Musgrave, Tomoko Nagai, Yoshitomo Nara, Mike Nelson, Ben Nicholson, David Noonan, Rupert Norfolk, Arnold Odermatt, Albert Oehlen, David O’Kane, Gosha Ostretsov, Silke Otto-Knapp, Djordje Ozbolt, Adrian Paci, Nam June Paik, Bradley Peters, Paul Pfeiffer, Jack Pierson, Lari Pittman, Richard Prince, R.H. Quaytman, Marc Quinn, Timm Rautert, Clare Richardson, Gerhard Richter, Damien Roach, Kirstine Roepstorff, Peter Rostovsky, Michal Rovner, Luke Rudolf, Jason Salavon, Michael Samuels, Oskar Schmidt, George Shaw, Jim Shaw, Dan Shaw-Town, Cindy Sherman, Pablo Siquier, Florian Slotawa, Melanie Smith, Jill Spector, Christopher Stevens, Dirk Stewen, Hiroshi Sugimoto, David Thorpe, Tim Trantenroth, Kon Trubkovich, Keith Tyson, Francis Upritchard, Sara VanDerBeek, Adriana Varejão, Chris Verene, Banks Violette, Sophie von Hellermann, Christian Ward, Matthias Weischer, Paloma Varga Weisz, Nicole Wermers, Kehinde Wiley, Simon Willems, Rebecca Wilton, Masao Yamamoto, George Young, Lisa Yuskavage, Tobias Zielony, Alex Zika, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski





Attention and Recognition

Why do we recognise some things and not others? How does the power of attention work?

Join Nilli Lavie, specialist in psychology and brain sciences, philosopher Mike Martin, and artist Christopher Stevens in examining these questions.


Collecting and Knowledge

Why do we collect and how does collecting help us understand the world around us?

Sue Pearce, expert in museum studies, sociologist Sarah Thornton, and Anne Welsh, specialist in cataloguing and classification, explore practices of collecting.


Jorge Luis Borges and The Library of Babel

Expert in Latin American literary studies and Evelyn Fishburn discusses Borges’ short story with theologian and Pascal scholar Dr John McDade.




Kate Davis


Giles Eldridge


David Burrows


Anna-Catharina Gebbers with Tracey Emin, Alexander Heim, and Sophie von Hellermann


George Young


Helene Appel


Juneau Projects


Lora Hristova


Anne Hardy



Each week, we invite you to take the lead in interpreting the exhibition by guiding a tour of works that have particular significance for you. To find out how to participate, please ask at the front desk. Which works would you select for a tour? Create your own Show Within A Show by filling out a tour sheet. Enter our prize draw for a chance to win an exclusive 176 Zabludowicz Collection edition. The winner will be announced on 9 May and contacted by email. Tours will be uploaded to our Facebook page. To view your tour online, visit 176 / Zabludowicz Collections’ page on

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Moving Image Works from the Zabludowicz Collection at Anna-Catharina Gebbers | Bibliothekswohnung, Berlin

Image: Susanne Bürner, "50,000 can't be wront", 2006. Digital video, sound, 6min 24sec, looped and stage. Dimensions variable. Courtesy Zabludowicz Collection and Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin

From 22 until 27 September 2009 Anna-Catharina Gebbers | Bibliothekswohnung is pleased to present for the first time in Germany a selection of works from the Zabludowicz Collection, London. The show is curated by Anna-Catharina Gebbers and 176/Zabludowicz Collection.

The selected moving image works thematize narratives of history and take their inspiration from different existing aesthetic contexts. Art historical references, found footage or traditional rituals act as initiators which, during the creative process, are objects to shifts that obscure the source and unveil a more complex critical situation. Comparable to the Brechtian V-effect the attention of the viewer is drawn towards on the modality of the narration instead of giving way to the illusion, the self-evident and the obvious. The collection of historical facts and their interpretive exposure rather become subjects themselves. History and its narration prove to be a collection of things that undergo changing orders and stagings.

176/ Zabludowicz Collection collaborates with guest curators and artists, enabling them to realize projects with the Zabludowicz Collection and the exhibition space at 176 Prince of Wales Road, London. Anna-Catharina Gebbers is the current guest curator at 176 and this exhibition makes up part of In out of Place her ongoing project for 176 / Zabludowicz Collection which examines the idea of collecting and collections from various perspectives. In August 2008 Catharina Gebbers and 176/Zabludowicz Collection invited about 120 artists to be part of Krautcho Club / In and Out of Place a collection based project exhibited both in Berlin and London

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Dialogue on Contemporary Art Collecting between London and Berlin

Thanks to Elizabeth Neilson of 176/Zabludowicz Collection we had the opportunity to enjoy an inspiring discussion with colleagues from London-based private collections and foundations. 176 had invited Kerstin Niemann and me, Anna-Catharina Gebbers, to introduce the group to a number of Berlin-based private contemporary art collection/foundation spaces and to some designated characteristics of the Berlin art landscape. The ensuing discussion was a fruitful exchange of knowledge, thoughts and idea, and thus a valuable contribution to our understanding of each other. 

Collecting is a fascinating topic, because the processes of collecting and the structures of collections are as diverse as the different collectors and their motivations, because it mirrors a variety of psychological, social and political aspects of society, and - last but not least - because the collecting of art reflects and strengthens art‘s significance. Each collection is not only a collection of artefacts, but also a collection of knowledge, strategies, concepts, different processes of production and exchange – as well as a condensation of the historical society conditions and the societal relevance of art: These invisible collections Kerstin and I would like to gather. 

With our research project we aim to take some of these issues under the examination of a magnifying glass. This includes on the one hand the local peculiarities of a country or a city: With Kerstin's London contribution on projects such as the Berlin Biennial, we introduced some characteristics of Berlin which are influential to the success of Berlin‘s art world. On the other hand, we are interested in tangible protagonists and collectors, who we presented in London with my lecture: My selection of six Berlin-based contemporary art collections, who make their collections available to the public regularly, diversified a range of different collection motivations, collection sizes, forms of presentation and organisation forms . 

The selection process and the presentation of artefacts are influential in regard to their general esteem as well as a network of opinion leaders is. And as I have examined these connections since 2005 with several exhibitions around the theme of collecting for different institutions (4th berlin biennial, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Sammlung Sander Berlin, Forgotten Bar Project, Berlin, 176/Zabludowicz Collection, London), and since I‘m currently working on a publication about this subject (Wert-Schätzung, Verlag für moderne Kunst, Nürnberg), I‘m in particular interested in the various social processes and the different forms of public presentation. Therefore my questions in London were correspondingly focussed on different notions of the public sphere, social responsibility, forms of governance, and their foundation in historic structures, which result in different forms of mediation programs. The subsequent discussion offered to Kerstin and me a revealing insight into the country-specific needs and attitudes. The cultural specificity of a country shape the processes of opinion formation, public staging of art, the exploration of art and the positions of private, public and corporate collections in the field of art.

Anna-Catharina Gebbers, 31st of May, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

London - Kicking Off - Collecting in the 21st century

Since the begin of the new year Anna-Catharina Gebbers and myself, Kerstin Niemann, started a long-term research project on private, public and corporate collections of contemporary art.  Over the course of one year we aim to invite players, contributors and critical minds of the field of collecting to enclosed workshops, seminars and discussions. For us it is important to make links to current and local topics and strategies of collecting in different cities of Europe and Northern America, such as London, Berlin, New York, Miami, Hamburg and others. 


The project as such is an ambitious undertaking. The aim is to evaluate information from institutions, collectors as well as research literature and apply this gathered knowledge in the discourse of contemporary culture, which could lead into a publication and maybe a series of presentations.  We are just at the beginning of our journey through information and knowledge. Each collection is not only a collection of artefacts but also a collection of knowledge, strategies, concepts and different formats of production and exchange.


Under the direction of Elizabeth Neilson from the project spacee 176 of the Zabludowicz Collection Anna-Catharina and I were able to start off with our first set of presentations, discussions as well as questions on Friday the 22nd of May. Together with colleagues from private London collections and corporate collections we were able to discuss and learn more about current collecting structures, strategies as well as forms of presentations and engagement from one another. The focus of our presentation was on Berlin. Anna-Catharina introduced several private collections and collectors and their structures. I gave some background information in how far other institutions and initiatives, such as the Berlin Biennial, as well as individuals helped to further the growth and interest in Berlin as an art metropolis and thus shaped it into an attractive location for collectors to locate their "collector's" museums and forums. 


At the moment I work as a guest research curator at the Van Abbemuseum, a publicly funded museum of contemporary art in Eindhoven, the Netherlands ( My work at the museum certainly influences my understanding of what a collection can be and aims to be in the 21st century. At the end of the presentation at 176  I asked the present collection colleagues what they feel is the responsibility of their institution in and for the public. The afterwards discussion and set of questions was rich and encouraged Anna-Catharina and I to expand our knowledge and thinking on collecting. The strategies of collecting as well as the ethos of how to present works from the collection certainly is different from collecting institution to collecting institution as I can recall from experience. Each collection and institution that works with the presentation of art and supports the production of artworks and the artists, gives a certain meaning towards the art in society. These institutions are part of the discourse and most of the time actively involved in defining the role of art in society.  

Kerstin Niemann, 26th of May 2009


Sunday, May 24, 2009

London, May 22nd 2009

After several month of research we've organised our first closed workshop on May 22nd 2009. The event took place at 176 in London, the exhibition space of the Zabludowicz Collection. Anna-Catharina Gebbers is their current guest curator and member of their advisory board since 2008.