Anchored locally and internationally relevant – this is also reflected in the exhibition program of the Kunsthaus Göttingen.


In the context of temporary exhibitions, up to four exhibitions will be created each year, in close cooperation with national and international artists presenting drawings, graphic prints, book and poster art as well as photography and video. Exhibitions by individual artists are just as much a part of the concept as extensive group exhibitions of different approaches.

The Göttingen-based company Sartorius is providing free admission to all exhibitions at the Kunsthaus in the first five years.

“Smaller Bundles Cram”
Photographer: Ron Amstutz; Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Test Runs and IN BETWEEN 

Short “test runs” will regularly take place between the larger exhibitions. These are designed to give artists the chance to try out different forms of presentation for their work: framed or pinned on the wall? Projections or placed on tables? Albums or books, or perhaps some other combination of approaches altogether? The main aim of the test runs is to facilitate personal exchange between artist and viewer; access to such working processes provides us with a fascinating look behind the scenes. 

As an additional interim format, small curated presentations within the framework of »IN BETWEEN« exhibitions will take place, which, together with the »test runs«, will fill the time between major exhibitions. The series of test runs is set to start already during the final construction phase of Kunsthaus Göttingen, with “Vom Buch an die Wand / From Book to Wall,” a presentation giving insight into the photographs of Gilles Peress – viewable online before the official opening of the Kunsthaus.


Test Run 1: Vom Buch an die Wand / From Book to Wall 

Gilles Peress 

Whatever You Say, Say Nothing 

Printing sheets – Book dummies – Proofs – Videos

The exhibition

“Vom Buch an die Wand / From Book to Wall” tells the story of printing Gilles Peress’ Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, his long-awaited book documenting the North of Ireland conflict. Composed of printing sheets, book dummies, proofs and videos, the exhibition uses the raw materials of bookmaking to expose its inner workings. Peress first shared the idea of Whatever You Say, Say Nothing with Gerhard Steidl in 2003, and the book has since taken shape over years of close collaboration – from scanning Peress’ original analogue prints, to carefully dust-spotting and color-correcting the scans; through typography, book and packaging design; through wet-proof printing for choosing papers in 2019; to final corrections in 2020. Printing took place from 15 August to 15 December 2020: Peress and Steidl approved each sheet on press and all in all over 30 tons of paper were used. “Vom Buch an die Wand / From Book to Wall” is the first test run exhibition at Kunsthaus Göttingen; the official premiere of Whatever You Say, Say Nothing is planned at Le Bal, Paris, in 2021.

  Photos © 2021 Steidl Publishers, Emilia Hesse

The book

In 1972, at the age of 26, Gilles Peress photographed the British Army’s massacre of Irish civilians on Bloody Sunday. In the 1980s he returned to the North of Ireland, intent on testing the limits of visual language and perception to understand the intractable conflict.

Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, a work of “documentary fiction”, organizes a decade of photographs across 22 fictional “days” to articulate the helicoidal structure of history during a conflict that seemed like it would never end – where each day became a repetition of every other day like that day: days of violence, of marching, of riots, of unemployment, of mourning, and also of “craic” where you try to forget your condition. Held back for 30 years and now eagerly anticipated, this ambitious publication takes the language of documentary photography to its extremes, then challenges the reader to stop and resolve the puzzle of meaning for him or herself.

Photo © 2021 Steidl Publishers, Emilia Hesse

»The book tells the story of a social and human drama. I think if there was a Nobel prize in Photography, it should go to Gilles Peress.«

Gerhard Steidl

Gilles Peress, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing
Photos © 2021 Gilles Peress

Curatorial tour 

Founding Director Gerhard Steidl leads interested parties digitally through the first test run. Before the opening exhibition »Roni Horn – You are the Weather« (mid-May 2021), we will take you inside the gallery and give you a look behind the scenes. The American photographer Mitch Epstein (New York) accompanies him throughout the test run. 


Born in 1946 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Gilles Peress moved to New York in 1974 and began a series of interrelated projects that push the formal and conceptual possibilities of photography to interrogate the structure of history and the nature of intolerance. The resulting cycle of interlocking narratives in books and on walls encompasses eight monographs and has been widely exhibited (at the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, New York, and Centre Pompidou in Paris, among others) and collected. 


Roni Horn – You are the Weather

Roni Horn, born 1955 in New York, studied at Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University. A scholarship made it possible for her to live several months in Island, which influenced her artistic work since then. Horn lives and works today in New York and Island, her works were displayed in exhibitions internationally and is part of the most distinguished museums of the world.


»Each form, to me, comments on and enriches the experience of the other.«

»Für mich kommentiert und bereichert jede einzelne Form das Erlebnis der jeweils anderen.«

Roni Horn

Roni Horn creates always innovative and highly poetic works. They deal with the changeability of identitites, instabilites of place and time, shapes and languages. In all of her works, sentences and titles are incorporated – language and literary quotations are a defining aspect of her work.

The artistic medium encompasses drawings, photography and sculpture all the way to books. The photographic process with his specific depictions interests Horn as a medium to build presence and isolation, not to document. The spectator is guided to the subject by means of the real, but through repetitions and variotions of the depicted, a single interpretation is refused.

“You are the weather, Part 2”
Photographer: Stefan Altenburger; Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth

The exhibition at Kunsthaus Göttingen shows an insight into her manifold artistic work. Accompagnied is the exhibition by an collateral program, which is created together with the artist.

collateral program

Parallel to the exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and discussions will round off the exhibition program. For children, adolescents, and also for adults, we will offer a varied program in the training of perception and how to actively experience artistic ideas. For school classes, there will be a unique catalog of events.

Experiencing and communicating the exhibitions creates a mutual understanding that opens up diverse perspectives and broadens horizons. Visitors are confronted and challenged with beautiful, but also contradictory and disturbing visual worlds.