1.5 Degrees

Interdependencies between Life, the Cosmos, and Technology
Julian Charrière: Controlled Burn, 2022, film still © Julian Charrière; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Plants as data repositories, algae as energy sources and microorganisms as empathic dialog partners: The exhibition project "1.5 Degrees" examines the complex interplay between man, nature and technology and, following a multi-voiced approach, demonstrates how the climate crisis is affecting every area of life. In the form of thematic fragments, the exhibition extends across all floors of the museum, integrating the areas displaying the permanent collection, and further to the grounds of the German National Garden Show Mannheim 2023, BUGA 23. Individual chapters deal, among other things, with artistic forms of activism, the significance of human-animal relations or the connection between art, science and technology. Artists such as Ernesto Neto, melanie bonajo, Marianna Simnett, Laure Prouvost, Tita Salina or Trevor Paglen on the one hand point to the impending ecological dangers and on the other hand emphasize the hope-giving potential of creativity and innovation.

With "1.5 Degrees" the Kunsthalle Mannheim, as a partner of BUGA 23, is moving beyond the museum's spatial boundaries: artists Olaf Holzapfel and Fabian Knecht are realising walk-in and site-specific installations on the garden show’s exhibition grounds, inviting the public to participate.

Curators: Johan Holten, Anja Heitzer, Sebastian Schneider, Pia Goebel (assistant curator)

Artists: Apparatus 22, Lee Bae, Joseph Beuys, melanie bonajo, Daniel Canogar, Julian Charrière, Peter Fend, Lili Fischer, Eva Gentner, Kyriaki Goni, Andreas Greiner, Romuald Hazoumè, Olaf Holzapfel, Anne Duk Hee Jordan & Pauline Doutreluingne, Anselm Kiefer, Tomas Kleiner, Fabian Knecht, Jannis Kounellis, Wolfgang Laib, Marino Marini, Guadalupe Miles, Ernesto Neto, Otobong Nkanga, Trevor Paglen, Emerson Pontes / Uýra Sodoma, Laure Prouvost, Germaine Richier, Tita Salina, Günther & Loredana Selichar, Marianna Simnett, Bahzad Sulaiman, SUPERFLEX, Margaret & Christine Wertheim, Susanne M. Winterling / The Kalpana

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The struggle against climate change has given birth to a host of new protest movements over recent years. Here contemporary art also plays an active role. Many artists see their work as a means to highlight various ills and inequalities – but also to indicate alternative courses of action. Their works aim at codetermination and intervention.


The modern individual places themselves and their needs at the center of their existence. In western cultures in particular, philosophical and religious assumptions which consider everything in the world to have been created for man still exert an influence. However, the increasingly acute climate crisis can leave us in no doubt that mankind has brought planet Earth to its limits. The current ecological situation challenges us to critically reflect on the modern way of life and to realign our use of natural resources.


A laboratory is a site of experiment, open research and innovation. In this respect, it has a lot to do with the way artists work. At the same time, many artists explore questions from the fields of science and technology – and in the process consciously employ methods from the respective disciplines. This fragment of the exhibition is dedicated to artistic research. A further central theme of this fragment is the experimental exploration of modern technologies by artists.


In accordance with the basic principle of coexistence, this fragment of the exhibition is not dedicated to the people on this planet but other life forms – from insects to gigantic underwater animals and rebellious breeding horses. The video works, photographs and installations highlight the extinction of species, question the capitalist logic of exploitation in animal breeding and show how artists explore the relationship between mankind, animals and plants.


The term cosmos not only describes outer space with all its stars and planets, but also, since antiquity, the world itself as an organized whole. All the components in this complex structure are interlinked like a clockwork mechanism. The artists exhibited here explore this system of interdependencies and provide a holistic perspective on the world.

Pictures of Nature - A Look at the Collection of the Kunsthalle Mannheim

The artistic perspective on nature has changed dramatically over recent decades. The consequences of climate change are challenging many artists to take stock or adopt critical positions. In the 19th century the image of the landscape still oscillated between the depiction of an Arcadian idyll and that of an exalted, awe-inspiring landscape. The industrialization at the end of the 19th century, and the associated transformation of nature and landscape, also shaped art.



1.5 Degrees
Interdependencies between Life, the Cosmos, and Technology

Editors: Irina Danieli, Inge Herold, Johan Holten, Eva Horn, Thomas Köllhofer, Sebastian Schneider
Design by Karsten Heller
Published by Hatje Cantz, 2023
216 pages
German / English
Price 32,00 Euro in the museum shop of the Kunsthalle Mannheim

More Exhibition Catalogues

1.5 Degrees: Also at the National Garden Show 2023, BUGA 23 in Mannheim

As a partner of BUGA 23, Kunsthalle Mannheim will be transgressing its limits as a museum in the exhibition 1.5 Degrees: The artists Olaf Holzapfel and Fabian Knecht will be realizing accessible and site-specific installations on the grounds of the National Garden Show in the framework of the exhibition. A co-production of Kunsthalle Mannheim and BUGA 23, especially conceived and implemented for this major event, the audience will be invited to participate and is encouraged to critically examine how humanity relates to nature around us.

Fabian Knecht

Isolation (Brache), 2023, Courtesy Fabian Knecht und alexander levy, Berlin 

When viewed from outside, the cube seems unspectacular, but its interior reveals a surprise: a meadow extending over the entire ground area of the space. It seems as if the artist has brought an ecosystem into the architecture. People who take a closer look even discover insects.

But it is actually fallow land that is otherwise found at this location, on which the artist erected a room, but dispensed with a floor. The grassy area now appears in front of windowless walls and in the light of fluorescent tubes. The room is reminiscent of a museum or art gallery. However, no paintings or sculptures are exhibited here, but the naturally grown vegetation. Knecht intertwines nature and culture in his work in an impressive way.


© Fabian Knecht, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023, photo: Kunsthalle Mannheim; Elmar Witt


© Olaf Holzapfel, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023, Foto: Kunsthalle Mannheim; Elmar Witt

Olaf Holzapfel

you will return there, 2022/23

Rye straw, wickerwork, timber framework, Installation view The German National Garden Show Mannheim 2023 (BUGA 23)

The walk-through sculpture you will return there by Olaf Holzapfel is part of the exhibition 1.5 degrees, which is currently on view at the Kunsthalle Mannheim and on the grounds of BUGA 23. It is clad with straw, a natural material that has shaped the landscapes of Central Europe for centuries, including the Rhine-Neckar region. For Holzapfel, the use of this material is deeply connected to his engagement with locally available resources. The artist is interested in how their presence affects human cultural techniques.

An example of this is the half-timbered construction. Here, it is the height of the tree trunks that stipulates how high the rooms erected using them can be. Holzapfel's sculpture draws on this technique as well as on the craft of wickerwork: the willow rods serve him as a basic building block from which a serially shaped wickerwork is created. Holzapfel's passage-like sculpture stands for the wholeness of nature and man, which seems to have been suppressed, but is currently being rediscovered by progressive currents in art, architecture and urban planning.


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