Waiting has been a part of human life for thousands of years. Although it is often considered an annoyance, time spent waiting is much more than simply ‘unused’ or lost time. Waiting provides an opportunity for reflection, creativity, deceleration and mindfulness. It opens up a realm of unimagined possibilities. Waiting can also be a reflection of social standing and status: people in a position of power do not wait; they have others wait. Fast check-in options and private insurance policies can buy such individuals shorter waiting times at airports or doctors’ surgeries; refugees, on the other hand, often have to wait years for a decision to be made on their asylum applications and have no way to speed up the process. With the large-scale exhibition WAITING, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is for the first time exploring this complex and universal theme. In works by more than 23 international contemporary artists, waiting is addressed as a curiously anachronistic phenomenon in our fast-paced modern society, which is driven by a compulsive need for instant gratification.