Welcome speech performed in German by Medea Stabbert at the Kestner Gesellschaft opening 7 July 2023, Hannover
Welcome speech English text projected
Welcome Installation view
Welcome Installation view
Welcome Installation exhibition view

Welcome re-installed at the Kestner Gesellschaft till July 2024

Currently on view as artist’s loan July 2023 – July 2024

The Welcome project re-imagines the 1923 Kestner Gesellschaft’s history, creating a new role for Sophie Kuppers, art historian, collector and future wife of El Lissitzky, by “appointing” her as its first female director. In her speech, performed live in German by Medea Stabbert at the opening of The New Man. The Announcer. The Constructor. El Lissitzky: Self-Portrait as the Kestner Gesellschaft, the artist confronts us with a narrative regarding the effects institutions and their governance has on propagating cultural values, while reflecting on omissions in acknowledging less well documented contributions by women. The artistic act of augmenting history can be seen as a form agency with the artist adopting the role of an intermediary or medium creating an elaborate disguise.

The installation of the project consisted of a purpose-built triangular free-standing room closed off on the longest side by a vertical blind with a gradient colour of the slats running from white to black interrupted by a red section, a homage to El Lissitzky and his work. Inside the original German version of the Welcome speech can be heard from a loudspeaker while a simultaneous English version runs as a projected scrolling text. The second projection on the adjacent wall is a 3 minute loop of archival footage shot in the Swiss Alps by the Beindorff family, the film is silent with added intermittent sound of a TB cough.

This is the evocation of two ghostly presences generated by the energy of the vocal cords. Sophie Kuppers becomes Sophie Lissitzky Kuppers by marrying El Lissitzky in 1927 in Moscow. Their lives have been inextricably linked, while their legacies unequally acknowledged. The project uses fiction to give justice to the emotional truth.

Marysia Lewandowska in conversation with Frances Morris, the first woman director of Tate Modern introduced by the Kestner Gesellschaft’s director Adam Budak on 19 September 2023

Sophie Kuppers Welcome speech English text

Sophie Kuppers Welcome speech_German text


Welcome  2023

Performance and Installation

Commissioned by Adam Budak, Director Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover

Exhibition The New Man. The Announcer. The Constructor. El Lissitzky: Self-Portrait as the Kestner Gesellschaft

Curated by Adam Budak and Robert Knoke

07.07.2023 – 01.10.2023

Research assistance Ines Katenhusen

Script Marysia Lewandowska

Performance Medea Stabbert

Sound design Robert Jack

Animation Paul Bloomfield

Graphic design Stefan Andersson