Press release

Press information / Press conference: Thursday, 24.03.2022, at 11 am

The exhibition project “Pedro Reyes: Sociatry – With a stage for Lina Bo Bardi” (26.03. – 14.08.22) shows two artistic-architectural positions from Latin America that place the human being at the center and offer an opportunity to overcome individualistic mind-sets. As an interdisciplinary border-crosser, Pedro Reyes (*1972 in Mexico City) advocates a social effectiveness of art, architecture and design. His profoundly humanistic attitude as well as his commitment to an intensive community experience connect him with the Italian-Brazilian architect and exhibition maker Lina Bo Bardi (*1914 in Rome, † 1992 in Sao Paulo), whose politically engaged work anticipated many of today’s controversial issues.

The Marta show “Pedro Reyes: Sociatry” is the first comprehensive exhibition of works by the Mexican artist in Europe. It features three large groups of works with around 45 drawings, sculptures, installations and videos from the last 20 years, as well as some new productions. The qualified architect has created an extensive sculptural oeuvre in recent years which is close to the concept of the “social sculpture” – which was invented by Joseph Beuys – and is often reminiscent of political activism. In his works he not only asks critical questions, but also develops utopian solution approaches for real social problems. In this he includes psychological, philosophical, but also sociological and activist methods, and encourages the visitors to become active themselves.

For Reyes, art can have a healing effect, an idea that is reflected in the title of the exhibition: “Sociatry” is derived from the two terms socius (Latin for “comrade, friend, ally”) and iatreia (Greek for “healing”), and is dedicated to the treatment of diseases in interconnected individuals and groups. The term was coined originally by the social scientist Jacob Levy Moreno who, in the middle of the 20th century, developed a series of methods for healing society.

“A social experiment can both work as research and also be therapeutic (and fun) at the same time.” (Pedro Reyes in an interview with Friederike Fast)

Pedro Reyes takes up this idea in the participatory project “Sanatorium” with which he caused an international sensation at the Kassel dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012. Art and psychology are connected here: as if in a utopian “clinic”, the visitors in the Marta Dome can choose between four artistic “therapies” that are accompanied by moderators in blue coats, and address issues of our times: with the “Museum of Hypothetical Lifetimes” (since 2011), a scaled down model of a hypothetical museum, the visitors can select small objects and figures to represent events in their lives or their fantasies, and thus re-write their own biography. A cathartic effect is promised by “Citileaks” (since 2011): the participants place a personal secret in a bottle and, in exchange, are allowed to read out the secret of another person. In the “Philosophical Casino” (since 2006), a kind of oracle with dice, the visitors receive philosophical answers to their questions in life. The “Goodoos” (since 2011), abstracted cloth dolls which are used to target another person with good magic, are also part of Reyes’ “Sanatorium”.

Alongside his commitment to an intensive community life and more social participation, Pedro Reyes also develops sculptural concepts against violence. In several projects he used weapons as the basic material for his works in order to reverse their destructive potential. In the project “Palas por pistolas” (2008) he made an appeal for weapons to be voluntarily given up to be melted down to make shovels which are then used to plant trees. Within the framework of the action “Disarm” (2012) he turned rifles and high-performance weapons into musical instruments. In the second version of this work shown here, Disarm (Mechanized) II (2014), the artist presents sculptures that can be controlled like mechanical musical instruments via a computer, filling the Gehry Galleries in the Marta with sound. For some years now Pedro Reyes has been increasingly addressing the threat of nuclear weapons – for example in the blow-up sculpture “Amnesia Atómica” (2020), which was commissioned in 2019 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. With works like this one he is drawing attention to a global nuclear threat which, in view of the current war in Ukraine, appears more topical than ever. In 2021 Pedro Reyes was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize for his engagement.

The third group of works shown at Marta Herford consists of a series of works created within the framework of the project “The People’s United Nations (pUN)” (2013-2015). Instead of diplomats, in the experimental conference based on the model of the United Nations, Pedro Reyes invited citizens, each of whom had a connection to the various states of the UN. The conference offered them a framework to exchange their views on global issues in a role play-type setting.

Just like Pedro Reyes, Lina Bo Bardi also used to engage with the question as to how art and architecture can be used to create places and situations where people can come together to exchange views. A topic which also affects the current socio-political discourse – most recently, for example, in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, which underlined the tense space situation in the cities and reignited the question as to community.


A stage for Lina Bo Bardi

“I’m not looking for beauty, I’m looking for freedom.” (Lina Bo Bardi)

30 original drawings, 60 photographic reproductions and models by the late architect, artist, designer, theatre producer, author and exhibition maker are shown under the heading of “A stage for Lina Bo Bardi”. More than 60 years ago Lina Bo Bardi was engaging with issues that still have social relevance today: a respectful approach to traditional handicraft and construction techniques, social justice and community-promoting architecture are some of them. One of her best-known projects was the building of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) that had been co-founded by her husband Pietro Maria Bardi in 1949. Of special importance to Bo Bardi here was the large, publicly accessible square beneath the floating museum building which still offers space to the present day for open-air concerts, exhibitions and gatherings. In the Marta, however, we will not only be looking at her construction projects but also at her activity as an exhibition maker: Lina Bo Bardi worked especially hard for the visibility of Brazilian folk art. One of her first exhibitions in Brazil, “Bahia no Ibirapuera” (1959), which she organized in collaboration with the theatre director, Martim Gonçalves, reflected the everyday life of the population in Bahia, a rural region in the north-east of Brazil. With the presentation of traditionally crafted objects such as bags, clothing, boat figures or ritual objects, Bo Bardi and Gonçalves wanted to do something to counteract the division of society into urban and rural population. Accordingly, the Marta Herford will be showing exhibits from the Woodcraft Museum Hiddenhausen – as an attempt to transfer this exhibition principle to the local situation. Although Bo Bardi was largely unknown for a long time in Europe, she has been rediscovered in recent years as one of the most visionary architects of her time. In 2020 she was posthumously awarded the Golden Lion of the Architecture Biennale in Venice. With her progressive practice Lina Bo Bardi inspired countless museum people, architects, and artists – including Pedro Reyes. For the presentation of her works he has developed a special scenography at Marta Herford which links up with her admiration for traditional construction methods and handicraft techniques: the studding of a demolished, historical half-timbered house from the East Westphalia-Lippe region was salvaged, put together again in the exhibition, and now shows the designs of the architect.


The “Island at Marta” by Robert Barta

To accompany the exhibition, Robert Barta (*1975 in Prague) built a walk-in installation for the “Island at Marta”. In his work, “Sensing the Wave” (2022), he playfully engages with movement and unusual perspectives. In doing so, he refers to central features of the curved architecture of the museum designed by Frank Gehry. The three objects distributed in the room are like oversized seesaws, whose function is borrowed from old rocking horses from the 19th century. The surfaces of the objects are covered with softly lined jeans, the legs of which reach into the air. When they walk on the unsteady surfaces, the visitors become performers. Every physical action has an effect on the movement of the objects and also changes the perception of the exhibition space. The visitors can decided for themselves if they want to spend some time in contemplation or rock wildly to change their perspective.

The “Island at Marta” is a communicative-artistic experiment at the center of the museum. Somewhere between an experiences space and a research lab, it offers opportunities to spend time and for encounters.


Thank you

We want to sincerely thank the Ministry for Culture and Science of the Land of North-Rhine Westphalia for the extensive funding. We would also like to thank the exhibition supporters, Lisson Gallery and Instituto Bardi / Casa de Vidro, without whom the exhibition in this form would not have been possible, as well as the Beisheim Stiftung for the support of the “Island at Marta”. At this point thanks also to our other supporters: RecyclingBörse!, HBZ Brackwede, Schroeder & Hoffert, Snack-Insects, fine print, JAB Anstoetz, Düsediekerbäumer and Oliver Schübbe. Within the framework of the project by Pedro Reyes we would also like to thank our collaboration partners, the University of Paderborn / Faculty for Cultural Studies, and the Municipal Library Herford.


Press information

This press release and printable press pictures for the exhibition can be found in the press section of our website at
The password for access to the images is: M4rt4pr3ss3
We will be happy to provide background information and interviews on the exhibition.
For this and any other information you can reach us at tel. +49 (0) 5221-99 44 30-27 or by e-mail at

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Exhibition information

Pedro Reyes: Sociatry – With a stage for Lina Bo Bardi

Director Kathleen Rahn

Curator team for the exhibition Friederike Fast (Pedro Reyes/Lina Bo Bardi), Ann Kristin Kreisel (“Island at Marta”), Friederike Korfmacher (Curatorial Assistant)

Consultant curator for the project with Lina Bo Bardi Julieta González

Graphic design nathow & geppert (Bielefeld)

Exhibits around 45 drawings, sculptures, installations and videos by Pedro Reyes; 30 original drawings, 60 photographic reproductions and models by Lina Bo Bardi as well as two documentary films about the architect; a room installation by Robert Barta in the “Island at Marta”

Publication accompanying the exhibition, two publication will appear at the end of April: “Pedro Reyes: Sociatry” (ca. 144 pages) and “A stage for Lina Bo Bardi” (ca. 30 pages), both 140 x 215 mm, German / English, publisher: Marta Herford gGmbH

Exhibition area ca. 1200 qm

Duration 26 March – 14 August 2022

Exhibition venue Marta Herford (Gehry Galleries), Goebenstraße 2–10, D-32052 Herford

Opening hours Tue – Sun and on public holidays 11 am – 6 pm, closed on 24th, 25th and 31st December and on Good Friday, open from 1 pm on New Year’s Day.

Tel.: +49-5221-99 44 30-0, Fax: Tel. +49-5221-99 44 30-23



Marta Partners

Marta sponsors The First Minister of the Land of North-Rhine Westphalia, the City of Herford, Marta Friends and Supporters

Corporate Premium Partners Herbert Kannegiesser GmbH, Poggenpohl Manufacturing GmbH,
Sparkasse Herford, Wemhöner Surface Technologies GmbH & Co. KG

Corporate Partners Hettich Unternehmensgruppe, imos AG, inometa GmbH, Peter-Lacke GmbH, Schaper Elektrotechnik GmbH & Co. KG

Founding partners The Land of North-Rhine Westphalia, the Hanseatic City of Herford

Media and advertising partners Zeitungsverlag Neue Westfälische GmbH & Co. KG, Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung GmbH & Co. KG, fine print – digital druck GmbH, T+A elektroakustik GmbH & Co. KG

Cultural partner WDR 3

Marta Patronage Fund for New Art Marion Dueball, Hettich Unternehmensgruppe, Leo and Ulrike Lübke, Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, Joachim and Elisabeth von Reden, Schaper Elektrotechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Sparkasse Herford, Guido Strunck, Wemhöner Surface Technologies GmbH & Co.