Deliberately local and climatically sensitive, HOT MESS specifically focuses on Berlin-based artists. Yet within this locality, the exhibition embraces a unique diversity inherent to the city itself. It invites artists both professionally and non-professionally trained, from within and outside academia, celebrated and uncelebrated, known and unknown. It encourages participants of all gender identities and ethnicities, and commits to be deliberately inclusive both in terms of representation and forms of expression.
As a non-institutional platform, HOT MESS aims to organically build partnerships across networks of independent artists, curators and organisations. It utilises intercultural dialogue as a means of future-building, celebrating the Berlin cultural sector as a speculative site for radical diversity, sustainability and conscious inclusivity.
To both formally and conceptually embody these multidisciplinary allegiances, the third edition of HOT MESS was co-curated by cultural manager and curator Vanja Žanko. Having in 2014 founded Nomad–a non-profit aimed to support Central and South European artists and art professionals–Žanko has since worked with major international artists, museums and governmental bodies to successfully format cross-disciplinary exhibitions and projects. Today Nomad operates out of Berlin, Zagreb and Vienna, and continues to help artists who have suffered the consequences of socio and geopolitical uncertainty.
The 2022 selection of ceramics was curated by the Berlin-based ceramic artist Tegan Emerson.
The first event was staged in 2020 at the foreclosed club Prince Charles, with the second edition premiering at the Napoleon Komplex event space in the renovated ex-Deutsche Bahn carriage repair halls near Berlin Ostkreuz in 2021.
The 2022 edition of HOT MESS was organised at Kühlhaus Berlin. Once an ice storage facility, the red brick building is now in the process of being lovingly restored and has become the site of numerous interdisciplinary and cultural events.
HOT MESS was founded in 2020 by Yolandé Gouws as an initiative to promote sustainable long-term change. It was conceived at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis in response to the anxious conditions suffered by the Berlin cultural sector at that time. The series imagines the city as a host of unlimited possibility, with each show realised in partnership with independent spaces also in varying stages of transition.