Is it a coincidence that the Ai Weiwei exhibition at Martin Gropius-Bau in Berlin, opening weeks after the Forensis exhibition at HKW, is called Evidence? The exhibition is Ai Weiwei's largest in Germany to date, including works like Stools (pictured above) made especially for the Berlin museum. In it there are also topographic marble sculptures of the Diaoyu islands, metal rods harvested from school buildings ravaged by the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, and an identical replica of Weiwei's holding cell in Chinese prison, where he was kept for 81 days under constant surveillance.
The gathering of evidence, and the bringing of such evidence to light in the public domain, is the theme of the exhibition. But the same might be said of Forensis, curated by Anselm Franke at HKW, and including "case files" from the research conducted by architects like Paulo Tavares, Nabile Ahmed and Adrian Lahoud. If Weiwei's personal narrative is woven directly into the exhibition at Martin Gropius-Bau, the narratives presented at HKW are told by secondary sources and researchers, and are somewhat hidden in data, models and satellite imagery. Still, both exhibitions are not oriented to make the invisible visible, but more accurately, to make visible that which is already visible (but repressed or ignored). A better way of putting it is that both Forensis and Evidence render explicit the stories, materialities and aesthetics of human rights violations rippling from heated points around the world.