Habitat Happy combines artistic as well as activist perspectives on human living space. In a society in which rent increases, crowding out and evictions are causes of ever-mounting fears affecting a cross section of the population, art unfolds its immediate potential for action and agency. The works developed and selected for Habitat Happy depict this and approach the subject of housing, living space and living culture individually: sometimes loudly, making use of the aesthetics of protest culture; sometimes sublimely and poetically, conceiving of living space as something holistic that touches our deepest human needs.
When Ulay stole the art work The Poor Poet from Neue Nationalgalerie in 1976 and temporarily installed it in the flat of a Turkish guest worker, he wanted to criticize the discrimination against Turkish immigrants, but at the same time created a space for associations between private housing and its marginalized residents, as well as between public institutions and the role of art. Spitzweg, who created the painting in 1839, certainly never had to live in such a poor attic room as he portrayed in his most famous work. And yet he illustrates, albeit in a romantic way, the precarious living conditions of a broad section of the population of his time. In Berlin, the draftsman Heinrich Zille documents the "Berlin slums" a few years later and shapes the image of run-down and overcrowded tenements at the beginning of the 20th century.
From Zille's "Milljöh" to Habitat Happy at in the Schwarzenberg House, the group exhibition contextualizes contemporary issues and challenges surrounding the topic of housing within the emerging continuity of lacking housing facilities and precarious living conditions. International artists, some of whom are producing work specifically for this exhibition, direct the visitor’s gaze to contexts such as luxury housing construction and the aesthetic unification of intimate spaces, as designs resemble one another. Furthermore, our (childhood) dream homes and the social development in which people increasingly fear for the loss of their living space are examined. Thus, the works also address the inequality within our societies…
(excerpt exhibition text; Annika Hirsekorn)