Heart Beats

Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu
Martin Toloku

Design: Viktor Schmidt

26/5 – 6/8/2023

Curated by Malte Pieper and Maja Smoszna

“Heart Beats” is the second part of the annual exhibition programme GLEANING

“Heart Beats” presents the artistic explorations of two performance artists, Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu and Martin Toloku, who both engage with the physicality of grief and trauma, inspired by their personal experiences and cultural backgrounds. The exhibition takes a closer look at the phenomena of bodily endurance in liminal conditions and its transgressive dimension, for instance in the realm of ritualized communal experience. 

Feelings of grief, shame, anger or joy manifest in the body and its metabolism. The writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes the physical process of mourning as “crying with our muscles.” Here, the process of remembering happens not only in the mind but also in body tissue, muscles and bones. Which after-effects are felt of historical ownership in relation to the body and the land, on an individual and collective level? Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu and Martin Toloku have created new works for the exhibition that address the metabolization and transformation of fear, loss, or stigmatization they sense in the context of the communities in the global South and North that they live in. In doing so, they interact with the particular architecture of the bear enclosure, which carries the weight inherent to a history of colonial and ecological displacement.

Both artists work at the intersection of durational performance and installation, inviting the audience to relate, spend time and share space together. Employing video, sculpture and vocal recordings, the artists set a stage and leave remains, allowing the visitors to glean from the past and anticipate future live-performance in the space.  

Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu

Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu (Berlin & Istanbul) explores the physical/emotional boundaries, limitations and potentials of the body in their durational performances, videos and installations. Based on this corporeal approach, Darıcıoğlu is interested in chronopolitics and necropolitics from a perspective that focuses on the vulnerability and strength of marginalized bodies.

Martin Toloku

Martin Toloku (Amsterdam & Kumasi) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice finds expression in various media from carving to installations, video works, long-term performances. He is fascinated by the materiality of the “process of decay”.

Toloku collects dead and rotting wood from rivers, streams, the sea, lakes, forests and his surroundings and tries to incorporate conceptual and performative compositions of life and death into his daily experiences.

tolokuart – Website


25/5/2023 7 pm 

with Performance “NOT NOW” by Martin Toloku

Free admission

Performance starts at 7 pm

Performance: Martin Toloku

Costume: Precious Debrah

Sound: Ibukun Sunday

“Not Now” is a project influenced by nightmares, the struggle and phobia associated with waking up in the middle of the night during a bad dream that causes sleep paralysis. Martin Toloku recalls about this work:

“I remembered clinging to my bed that faitful evening to compensate my body with  sleep. As my eldest always says to us: abavuvu me dia enya ne ame ooh – the best place to find peace of mind is in one’s bed.

After breathing in and out, a gentle teleportation massages the nerves and heals them from a long day’s work on the wheel of restful sleep. Overwhelmed by the comforts of rest, the body becomes entangled in the blanket, demanding an emergency landing in a strange world. Inevitably, I feared being trapped in my own death, unable to breathe, unable to run, unable even to wake up.

Gleaning from several occurrences of this incident, my experiences associated with hallucinations and spatial encounters activate Bärenzwinger with a live-performance in which my body resurrects from a graveyard.”

Artist Talk

26/5/2023 7 pm

Artist Talk with Martin Toloku and Orlando Maaike Gouwenberg

The event will be held in English language.

In conversation in the Bärenzwinger‘s garden, Martin Toloku and Orlando-Maaike Gouwenberg will discuss Martin’s work to date, focusing on the installation and performance “NOT NOW”, which Martin is currently presenting as part of the exhibition “Heart Beats” in the Bärenzwinger.

Orlando-Maaike Gouwenberg is a curator and producer who works with artists on projects that often fall between disciplines or make cross-overs. She co-founded A.P.E (art projects era) and Deltaworkers, international residency in New Orleans, worked at If I Can’t Dance in Amsterdam, Performa in New York, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and was artistic director at Jester in Genk. She was co-curator for the Dutch pavilion at the 59th venice biennial, presenting melanie bonajo, and did many international projects as freelancer, amongst others for Melly (at the time Witte de With) in Rotterdam. At the moment she producers the opera Gorgon for Marianna Simnett, and works on future projects with international partners.

“Beyond Languages”

7/6/2023 6 pm

Poets’ Corner in collaboration with Haus für Poesie
Reading with Jasmina Al-Qaisi, Göksu Kunak and Rûveyda 

Hosted by Nina Kettiger

The event will be held mainly in English language.

Free entry

A visit to Bärenzwinger Berlin can feel like stepping onto an island: The original architecture includes two outdoor terraces and moats that used to be filled with water. The water kept the bears inside and visitors at a distance. Today, the spaces of the former enclosure are a communal gallery. The artistic programme aims to work with and against the violent legacy of the space.

As part of the second exhibition of the annual programme GLEANING, the two artists Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu and Martin Toloku will use the space of Bärenzinger to create site-specific installations that serve as a stage for performances. The performative exhibition aims to explore the “residual effects” of historical ownership in relation to the land and bodies in a global context. This is the point of connection: The poets share a performative practice with the two artists, exploring poetry across disciplines and (body) languages.

Kindly supported by: The project is funded as part of „Neustart Kultur“, the program of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by Deutscher Literaturfonds e.V. The 24th poesiefestival berlin is a project of Haus für Poesie in cooperation with Akademie der Künste and is supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.

Curatorial Tour

28/7/2023 6 pm
Exhibition tour

with the curators Maja Smoszna and Malte Pieper

Free Admission

“Heart Beats” is still on view for the next two weeks in Bärenzwinger. We will be very happy if you visit us in the coming sunny and rainy days.

The curators, Maja Smoszna and Malte Pieper, invite you to a curatorial tour of the exhibition on Friday, 28/7 at 6 pm.

This is a great opportunity to see the exhibition and enter into conversation with the Bärenzwinger curatorial team.

We speak English and German.

“Fire, everywhere”

5/8/2023 1–7 pm 

Performance by Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu

Free admission

Relaxed performance, drop-in and drop-out anytime possible

The performance contains English and Turkish spoken language

Seating available (cushions and benches), no pre-registration necessary

On Saturday, 5 August 2023 from 1 to 7 pm, Bärenzwinger invites you to the performance by Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu. The site-specific installation “Fire, everywhere” (2023) by Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu addresses the stigmatisation and resilience of queer communities from past to present. The performance draws lines between violence and empowerment through the symbolism of boxing/punching.
During the six-hour-long performance, Leman conducts a physical investigation into how to create a ground for taking care of oneself and the other in a demanding situation, such as a constant fight represented through the action/gesture of boxing/punching.

The act of boxing/punching is turning into an embodied research crossing the lines of queer shame, guilt, anger, vulnerability, strength, resilience, resistance, fighting/hiding. The live performance joins the constellation of three video performances, a sound piece and a set of latex sculptures already on view in the exhibition.