press release

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ursula Biemann, Forensic Architecture, Paulo Tavares: Enter the Void
July 10–November 1, 2020

"Voids" are gaps, holes, empty spaces, vacuums—in other words, unoccupied rooms or places where there is an absence of material. The term denotes mistakes in the original construction as much as it refers to subsequent breaches or contraventions which substantiate what was formerly an intact structure or presence. Holes, gaps and empty spaces testify to interventions, onslaughts and occurrences. Quite apart from their physical qualities, they an also relate to gaps in knowledge or perception and absorb information that we cannot see, hear, understand or categorise. They can describe a place which lies beyond our mental or sensual grasp. Enter the Void accompanies us to these places. The works on show attest to their existence and to the way the participants deal with them.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ursula Biemann, Paulo Tavares and the Forensic Architecture research collective are all linked by concept of the "void." Enter the Void presents the approach that connects these actors: seeking out gaps in the communication of events, in chains of evidence or in the administration of justice as if they were nothingnesses in our sensual and physical perception. The participants have investigated these empty spaces via extensive research that involves analysing digital material, field research and interviews, and their contributions to the exhibition have made it possible for us to access these spaces.

Forensic Architecture repeatedly returns to the theme of "negative evidence" in its case studies. This term from jurisprudence is applied when an absence of material evidence—for instance material that has been concealed or destroyed—is taken as proof in itself. It is thus an argumentation ex negativo. Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Paulo Tavares first became acquainted through their work with the research collective Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths University in London. However, for some considerable time now they have been pursuing independent artistic projects. Paulo Tavares and Ursula Biemann, for example, have explored the ecosystem and the idea of the world as a living being. Lawrence Abu Hamdan has concentrated in particular on the significance and truthfulness of sound and the voice.

It is this aspect of (presumed) absence that brings together the contributions of Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ursula Biemann, Forensic Architecture and Paulo Tavares in the exhibition Enter the Void. Their work frequently plays a role in viewing crimes from a new perspective or solving them altogether. This makes it critically important not just as art, but also for society itself, as contemporary art becomes the setting of a battle for democracy, justice, natural rights and human rights.

Curatey by Stefanie Böttcher
Curatorial Department: Lina Louisa Krämer

Related Programme (selection)

July 29, 7pm
Talk with Maria Sitte (HfG Offenbach) and Lina Louisa Krämer

September 9, 7pm
Talk with Dr. Matthias Geurts (partner Noerr LLP, Frankfurt) and Stefanie Böttcher

October 10, 7pm
ShortCuts #10: Film screening and talk

October 26, 11am
Symposium in cooperation with the Gutenberg-Nachwuchskolleg „Zeugenschaft“, Institute for Film, Theatre, Media and Cultural Studies, JGU Mainz

November 08, 4pm
Site inspection and talk with Wolfgang Plöger and Dr. Andrea Seelich

Press inquiries:
Anna Marquis,

The exhibition is kindly supported by Stiftung Rheinland-Pfalz für Kultur, Pro Helvetia and Rudolf Augstein Stiftung.