AGEING TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

All over the world, growing numbers of seniors are using digital media to stage themselves confidently and fashionably. Especially on Instagram, many “best agers” gain visibility. Günther Krabbenhöft (73) and Britt Kanja (68) have more than 40.000 followers, stand out with their expressive fashion and have made a name for themselves in the Berlin techno world, as well as the art and culture scene. New images of ageing are gaining ground!

While Britt Kanja’s and Günther Krabbenhöft’s interpretations of ageing are present through their Instagram feeds in the exhibition GREY IS THE NEW PINK, the exhibition also shows material symbols of ageing, e.g. with fly whisks and dignity staffs from various societies in Africa. They were always in their leaders’ hands at important public and ceremonial occasions, the fly whisks or staffs were used to emphasize gestures and words. They not only symbolized social roles and authority, but also personal status – a status often increasing with age.

Furthermore, a lot of photographic interpretations can be found in GREY IS THE NEW PINK: The Kenyan Osbourne Macharia quotes cultural icons like the fly whisks and dignity staffs and re-interprets them in his afrofutiristic photo series “Kabangu”. The icons are replaced by a skateboard or ghettoblaster, evoking a self-confident and ironic image of four hip hoppers with typically youthful attributes. In contrast, “Ain’t Nothing Wrong with being Beautiful” by Israeli artist Naama Attias shows the world of child beauty pageants in Texas. Here, children are supposed to appear grown-up, e.g. with heavy make-up. In their works, both Attias and Macharia critically and ironically turn images of age upside down.

In the installation “Call for Content”, which consists of contributions from all over the world, it becomes obvious that tattoos and pink fingernails are not anymore reserved for the younger generations. Kyra Schneider calls her photography, quite suitably: “My Grandma is a Hipster”.

In May, the actionweek “New Takes on Images of Ageing” shows how ageing can be expressed as a lifestyle. On top of a common lyrical performance by poetry slammers and a senior poet or an artists’ conversation, the exhibition will be extended by another form of expression: In a dance workshop and a dance tour, older dancers interpret the exhibition in a new way and represent the objects, in dialogue with their own experiences, in movements.