Jason Rhoades, My Madinah: In pursuit of my ermitage… (Detail), 2004/2013
Estate of Jason Rhoades, Installation view Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Photo: Aaron Igler/Greenhouse Media
Courtesy Estate of Jason Rhoades; Hauser & Wirth; David Zwirner, New York/London
The Kunsthalle Bremen is presenting a major exhibition of the American artist Jason Rhoades (1965 – 2006, Los Angeles), who attained international recognition in the early nineteen-nineties with spectacular and room-filling installations. Active in both Europe and America, Rhoades is considered to be one of the most important artists of his generation. The exhibition attempts a first overview of his complex oeuvre since his premature death with four installations to be navigated curatorially by four interpretive paths or roads. The four roads are: “Jason Rhoades, American Artist”; “Jason the Mason” (a biographical thread named for a childhood nickname); “systems” (language, scale, indexing, economies), and “taboo”. The four essential aspects of his oeuvre are presented through four large, exemplary installations from various phases of his artistic production. By foregrounding these themes, the exhibition aims to offer inroads into the sprawling, labyrinthine, spectacular, overloaded, and detailed body of work that Rhoades conceived of as one-overarching project – to make sense of a complex and layered world and play with cultural stereotypes and personal myths.
"Jason Rhoades, Four Roads" is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania and curated by ICA Chief Curator, Ingrid Schaffner. This exhibition is made possible by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The exhibition is a cooperation of the Instiute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Kunsthalle Bremen and BALTIC, Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.
With generous support from Karin und Uwe Hollweg Stiftung and support from Bremer Landesbank.
Reverse side of the painting Teich mit schilfbestandenem Ufer by Karl Peter Burnitz
Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Foto: Karen Blindow
Provenance research, namely an investigation concerning the histories and journeys of works of art, including their previous owners, has long been a concern of German museums, not only since the spectacular discovery of pictures in Munich during 2013. For three years, a research project has been under way at the Kunsthalle Bremen concerning approximately 120 works from the collection. An examination was made as to whether these paintings, drawings and sculptures had possibly been stolen from persecuted Jewish owners between 1933 and 1945. The research revealed the fascinating journeys of these works as well as the biographies and activities of the Bremen art dealers and collectors Arnold Blome, Heinrich Glosemeyer and Hugo Oelze. A chapter of Bremen's artistic and cultural history, until now concealed in darkness, has thereby been brought to light.
The Kunsthalle Bremen is presenting the results of its research in a comprehensive exhibition in which paintings and drawings from the Middle Ages to modern art are on display. Furthermore, the collector and dealer Arnold Blome will be revealed for the first time to a wider public as an artist in his own right. His oeuvre extends from Expressionism through Constructivism all the way to Dadaist word-pictures with critical commentaries about contemporary history and politics.
Anonymus Bolognese or Roman engraver
Screaming Man / Schreihals (nach Agostino Carracci), early 17th century
Copper Engraving, 17,8 x 12,7 cm (Papier), 16,7 x 11,6 cm (Platte)
Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Department of Prints and Drawings, Photo: Karen Blindow
Sacred and allegorical figures emerge from the picture. Serpentine bodies arrest the gaze with a dizzying dynamism. From athletic banner-swayers to bodies in free fall, from a screaming Fury to the quiet swoon of the Virgin Mary — Italian graphic art of the sixteenth century captures on paper every conceivable form of psychological emotion and physical movement. Even today, the copper engravings, etchings and woodcuts continue to surprise and amaze. Artists competed in the representation of the affects and human movement in order to give proof of their observational acuity, inventive capacity and technical virtuosity. With works from the important and to a large extent unknown holdings of Italian graphic art in the Collection of the Kunsthalle, the exhibition is a journey through pivotal epochs in the history of art: from the High Renaissance through Mannerism to the beginnings of Baroque. Among the represented artists are Marcantonio Raimondi, Parmigianino, Ugo da Carpi, Andrea Andreani, Federico Barocci and Agostino Carracci.
Sarah Morris, Jardim Botânico [Rio], 2013 (Detail), 59,81 m x 4,07 m
© Sarah Morris
The American artist and filmmaker Sarah Morris (* 1967) has created a monumental, panoramic mural for the central entrance hall of the Kunsthalle Bremen. Jardim Botânico [Rio] (“Botanical Garden”) is related to the artist’s new series of works entitled Rio but also reacts to the architecture of the museum. The spectacular installation combines luminous colours and abstract grid structures with rectangular and curved forms to form a spectacular environment. The numerous layers of brilliant pigments and
household enamels give rise to visual rhythms as well as to tactile, almost relief-like structures.
Morris works in the tradition of geometrical painting of modernism as well as of the 1960s with marked references to the oeuvre of Piet Mondrian, the American color field painters, Op Art and Victor Vasarely. She continues this tradition creatively into the future and instils new life into a reduced formal language through her dynamic, intensively colourful compositions. But with the shiny colours of her striking paintings and murals the artist also reflects critically on the illusionary world of Hollywood film and the surface aesthetics of glossy magazines, fashion and advertising.
The exhibition has been realised with the generous support of the Supporters’ Circle for Contemporary Art of the Kunstverein Bremen and the Bremer Landesbank.