left: Carl Wagner (1796–1867), Hochgebirgssee, Water colour, pencil
Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Department of Prints and Drawings
right: Ulrike Heydenreich (born 1975), Panoramaring 4, 2010, Object with pencil drawing
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013
A quotation from Ludwig Tieck’s famous artist novel “Franz Sternbalds Wanderings” (1798) is the source of the title of the exhibition. It paraphrases Romantic landscape art’s true concern: to meet nature subjectively.
The exhibition presents a representative selection of about 100 master drawings and 40 oil sketches from the first half of the 19th century, taken from the rich holdings of the Kunsthalle’s prints and drawings department. Amongst them are works by Caspar David Friedrich, Franz Catel, Johann Christoph Erhard, Friedrich Nerly and many others. These are shown in an exciting dialogue with the landscape drawings by contemporary artists, including Bettina Blohm, Manfred Holtfrerich, Nanne Meyer, Ugo Rondinone and Malte Spohr.
Carl Wilhelm Kolbe d.Ä., Kräuterstück mit Leierspieler am Brunnen, undatet, Etching
Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Department of Prints and Drawings
The cabinet exhibition “Idyllic Arcadia. Landscape Etchings by Carl Wilhelm Kolbe the Elder (1759–1835)” presents etchings by the outstanding engraver. The Kunsthalle owns an extensive collection of around 250 etchings by the artist, including unique copies, state proofs and trial prints which are being shown in Bremen for the first time in a selection of forty works. A few prints give evidence of various stages of work upon the engraving plate and impart a palpable presence to the process of the artistic imagination. Carl Wilhelm Kolbe the Elder cannot be assigned definitively to any single movement in the history of art. Instead he occupies a unique position within the graphic production, which was held in high esteem around 1800.
The presentation focuses especially on the group of famous “Kräuterblätter” (Herbal Sheets), surrealistic marsh landscapes with abundant vegetation viewed at close range. The Kunsthalle owns eleven of the twenty-eight plant motifs, several of them in multiple impressions. Kolbe's “Kräuterblätter” are complemented by exemplarily selected models cited by the artist himself. These include works by Anthonie Waterloo and Jacob van Ruisdael, two contemporaries of Rembrandt, as well as by Salomon Gessner, a poet, painter, and engraver from Zurich.
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.
Boris Becker, Piranha Kokainpaste Kolumbien, 2001, Photograph
Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen. © VG-Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013
The collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen features first-class works by international artists such as James Turrell, John Cage, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nam June Paik, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman, Norbert Schwontkowski, Simon Starling and many others.
With her first exhibition as the new Kunsthalle’s curator of modern and contemporary art, Dr. Sabine Maria Schmidt focuses primarily on photography. She investigates the interface of the medium of photographic and the image in motion, its expansion and its reference to other creative genres. The selection shows works of the last 30 years as well as new acquisitions and selected loans.
Joint exhibition project at 15 museums together with a dedicated website
Alfred Flechtheim at the Léger-Ausstellung, Berlin 1928
Photo: Atelier Lily Baruch © The Royal Library Copenhagen
The gallery owner Alfred Flechtheim (1878–1937) was a major protagonist in the art scene during the first third of the 20th century. His commitment to the Rhineland Expressionists, the French avantgarde and German Modernism and his support of important artists such as Max Beckmann, George Grosz and Paul Klee made him internationally famous even during his lifetime. The National Socialist regime, however, changed his life and that of his family drastically. Flechtheim had to leave Germany in October 1933. As an art dealer of Jewish extraction he suffered public defamation and, by 1935, had closed his galleries in Düsseldorf and Berlin and transferred the artworks he still possessed abroad, mostly to London, where he died in 1937 at the age of just 59 as the result of an accident. His wife, Betty, committed suicide in 1941 in the face of her imminent deportation. The remaining works of art in their flat in Berlin were confiscated and their whereabouts remains unknown to this day.
100 years ago Alfred Flechtheim opened his first gallery in Düsseldorf on 9 October 1913. His activities as an art dealer have left their mark in numerous museums to this day in the form of major works of art. These works, acquired through his galleries, have made and still continue to make a decisive contribution towards defining the profile of each respective museum. The aim of this project is to trace the path these works of art took before arriving in the museums, their provenance and their sales history from the artist to the dealer and collector. Particular attention is placed on the time Alfred Flechtheim dealt with the works as well as the circumstances under which these were ultimately acquired by the respective institutions.
Participating museums are displaying works of art to the public that have a ‘Flechtheim’ provenance in the form of exhibitions and presentations of works in their own rooms:
Kunstmuseum Bonn | Kunsthalle Bremen | Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Dortmund | Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf | Stiftung Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf | Städel Museum, Frankfurt | Hamburger Kunsthalle | Sprengel Museum Hannover | Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe | Museen der Stadt Köln |Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig | Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München | LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster | Staatsgalerie Stuttgart |Museum Rietberg, Zürich.
The database generated website www.alfredflechtheim.com provides an overview of the complete exhibition with all works that have a connection to the Galerie Flechtheim and are now in the 15 museums participating in the project.
Janis E. Müller, Fahrradkonzert mit Latten und Becken, 2013, Videostill, © Janis E. Müller
The artist Janis E. Müller (*1982 in Achim, lives and works in Bremen) is concerned with pursuing functionality up to the threshold of its own dissolution, and with translating technical processes into “hand”-crafted procedures. Many of his works focus upon seeking the ultimate limit of reduction. Müller's works are multimedia projects involving both audio-visual media and space-encompassing installations. He subjects his working material to a series of reworkings. He fragments objects of the everyday world and reassembles them in an altered context. Inasmuch as the artist causes the objects to emit a sound or provides them with an acoustic background, they lose their functional significance and are restored to their original materiality. The synthesis of noises and movement transcends the works themselves and allows the viewer to experience a new perception which includes a spatial aspect.
Janis E. Müller was a master pupil at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen in the class of Jean-François Guiton and received the Karin Hollweg Award in 2012. The Kunsthalle Bremen is presenting the first solo exhibition of the artist.