In this installation, Nadia Kaabi-Linke uses over four hundred individual mosaic pieces to mark the imprints of bullet holes on a wall in Berlin’s Friedrichstadt neighborhood—and the subsequent, imperfect efforts to cover them up. Her mosaics trace their exact placement, directly transposing the scars of this past across space and time to the gallery’s walls. The immensity of the seeming blankness of white tiles on white walls balances on the fine line between visibility and invisibility—articulation and erasure.
In Mistake-Out Friedrichstadt Kaabi-Linke chooses to take stock of the very act of erasure, drawing attention to the institutional powers that mediate our relationship and access to the past, as such her work raises many questions: How do we live with the remnants of our past? Who is the arbiter of what must be preserved or destroyed? Her tactile engagement with the wounds of the city suggests a desire for intimacy with the place she now calls home. And although the subtlety of Kaabi-Linke’s gesture appears careful and gentle, we cannot forget that the very act of recording will nonetheless always also produce silences. Kaabi-Linke is on the quest to know, and perhaps even to heal by exploring the histories beneath the surface.
— Rotana Shaker, 2020