Interventions in public space


Opening: 5 May 2023, 18 h
Meral Imbiss, Kebab boat, Schaumainkai 35, 60594 Frankfurt am Main

Press preview: 4 May 2023, 9.30 h
SB Waschsalon Waschtreff, Wallstraße 8, 60594 Frankfurt am Main 


Exhibition booklet (PDF)

Map (PDF)

Map (Google Maps)

Institutions, much like living organisms, are influenced by, coexist with, and depend on their environment. For Assembly, Portikus invites five artists to respond to public sites in its immediate surroundings, the neighborhood of Sachsenhausen, thus addressing its location on Frankfurt’s Alte Brücke (Old Bridge). Built in the 13th century, the bridge was instrumental  to the development of the cityscape, enabling people and businesses alike to move and settle on both sides of the river Main. Over the past centuries, Sachsenhausen has undergone numerous changes, experiencing floods, wars, and gentrification, all of which have shaped its current infrastructure. The group exhibition revolves around questions of gatherings, reflecting on the conditions and possible forms of physical assemblies that occur in public space.

Spanning ten weeks and seven locations, the artists’ interventions engage directly with the respective spaces and draw inspiration from the everyday activities that take place in a neighborhood, such as washing clothes, listening to music, eating a kebab by the river, walking through the park or reading a newspaper. In a 19th century apartment on Schweizer Straße 5, James Gregory Atkinson places a 1940’s jukebox filled with records by Afro-German singer Marie Nejar (aka Leila Negra), whose songs transformed schlager music in post-war Germany. A few meters away, Detroit harpist Ahya Simone’s recent recordings of songs by Nejar fill the historic Schweizerhaus on Schaumainkai 13, a former tea house and concert hall. By linking two bourgeois buildings and raising questions of class and race in Germany, Atkinson creates sites for a pluralistic culture of remembrance. A wallpaper by Thomas Bayrle with patterns of colorful clothing wraps the walls of SB Waschsalon Waschtreff, a local laundromat essential to the daily life of various communities, seamlessly merges his fascination with serial patterns and mechanics with the rows and repetitive movements of the washing machines. In the historical Metzlerpark, among ginkgo trees, Canadian oaks, copper beeches, and chestnut trees, Ayşe Erkmen’s bronze sculpture of the last descendant of the Achatinella apexfulva snail species raises awareness of the increasingly rapid extinction of biodiversity worldwide. In collaboration with Meral Imbiss, the floating kebab stand that docks every summer on Sachsenhausen’s riverbank, Slavs and Tatars link culinary and intellectual nourishment in site-specific interventions accompanied by a series of public events. Available at FAMELESS Kiosk, a local convenience store offering everyday items and the daily press, Sung Tieu's fictional newspaper speaks to the circulation of information related to migration, power dynamics and cultural identity. Graphic designer Sandra Doeller’s poster series, inspired by the various typographies that form the visual identity of an urban landscape, is displayed on several floors of the Parkhaus Alt-Sachsenhausen, symbolic of the exponential use of the automobile in the city.

The title of the exhibition refers to the multiple facets of the public sphere. If Assembly evokes the gathering of a group of people driven by a common impulse, its variant, Assemblage, alludes to an ensemble composed of heterogeneous elements. By stimulating encounters that may occur daily in the neighborhood, the exhibition aims to create temporary relationships and encourage new socio-spatial gatherings.

Curated by Liberty Adrien & Carina Bukuts
Assistant Curator Assembly: Sophia Scherer


Addresses and opening hours:

James Gregory Atkinson
Schweizer 5, Schweizer Straße 5, 60594 Frankfurt am Main
Fri: 12.00–19.00 h
Schweizerhaus, Schaumainkai 13, 60594 Frankfurt am Main
Sat/Sun: 11.00–19.00 h

Thomas Bayrle
SB Waschsalon Waschtreff, Wallstaße 8, 60594 Frankfurt am Main
Mon–Sat: 6.00–23.00 h

Ayşe Erkmen
Platane, N 50° 6'21'' O 8° 40'48'', Metzlerpark, Schaumainkai 15, 60594 Frankfurt am Main
Mon–Sun: 24 h

Slavs and Tatars 
Dönerboot – Meral Imbiss, Mainufer, Schaumainkai 35, 60594 Frankfurt am Main
Mon–Sun: 12.00–23.00 h

Sung Tieu
Fameless Kiosk, Schulstraße 38, 60594 Frankfurt am Main
Mon: 12.30–19.00 h / Tue–Thur: 8.30–19.00 h / Fri: 8.30–22.00 h / Sat: 11.00–22.00 h

Sandra Doeller
Parkhaus Alt-Sachsenhausen, Walter-Kolb-Straße 6, 60594 Frankfurt am Main
Mon–Sun: 24 h

Public Program:

Slavs and Tatars’ Aşbildung

Wednesday, 31 May 2023, 19 h with Mobile Albania (Performance)
Thursday, 8 June 2023, 19 h with Mustafa Kakour (Concert)
Thursday, 6 July 2023, 19 h with TATAR KYZ:LAR (Performance)

Meral Imbiss, Kebab Boot, Schaumainkai 35, 60594 Frankfurt am Main

Slavs and Tatars’ collaboration with the kebab boat is accompanied by a public program with local artists and performers, bringing together culinary and intellectual nourishment.

Guided Tours:

Saturday, 13 May 2023, 18h (English) with Andrés Gorzycki

Friday, 9 June 2023, 18h (English) with the curators Liberty Adrien & Carina Bukuts
(Meeting point: SB Waschsalon Waschtreff, Wallstraße 8, 60594 Frankfurt am Main)

Friday, 7 July 2023, 18h (German Sign Language) with Christopher Moeller (cancelled)

Saturday, 15 July 2023, 19h (German) with Radia Soukni


All tours are free of charge. Due to limited capacity, please register in advance at info@portikus.de

On April 28, 2023, 5pm, Ahya Simone played at Klosterruine Berlin as part of James Gregory Atkinson’s performance ‘3 Songs for Marie Nejar’, curated by Juliane Bischoff. The recording of the concert will be broadcast from Schweizerhaus every weekend during Assembly.

Assembly takes place in conjunction with the commemoration of 175 Jahre Deutsche Nationalversammlung Paulskirche Frankfurt and made possible by the major support of Stiftung Kunstfonds. Generous support is provided by Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, and Stiftung Frankfurter Sparkasse. Additionally, we would like to thank our partners SB Waschsalon Waschtreff, FAMELESS Kiosk, Grünflächenamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Meral Imbiss Istanbul-Boot, Schweizer 5 and Goedeking Architekten.

Poster design: Sandra Doeller

Installation views: Eike Walkenhorst