AU RENDEZ-VOUS DES AMIS | Modernism in Dialogue with Contemporary Art from the Sammlung Goetz

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Nudes playing under tree, 1910, and Louise Bourgeois, Couple, 2004

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AU RENDEZ-VOUS DES AMIS | Modernism in Dialogue with Contemporary Art from the Sammlung Goetz

Pinakothek der Moderne | Kunst
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With its multitude of startling new artistic styles, Modernism has remained a source of inspiration for successive generations of later artists. It paved the way for the liberation of perspective, proportion, and colour from formal verisimilitude. This living legacy is vividly reflected in the new display of modern art from our own collection, now presented in relation to 80 contemporary works from the Goetz Collection. The joint display leads to a broadening of artistic media, away from the traditional collection core of paintings to include photography, sculpture, and textile art. Many of the more recent artists also take a critical look at this legacy of Western culture and question how art, then and now, deals with the body, gender, and identity. The show features the art of Francis Bacon, Max Beckmann, Louise Bourgeois, Fischli Weiss, Rodney Graham, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Franz Marc, Pablo Picasso, Oskar Schlemmer, Rosemarie Trockel, Woty Werner, Andrea Zittel, and many more.

EXHIBITION VIEW: ROOM 5 | MYTHISCHE FIGUR

By forgoing the imitation of natural forms and proportions, Cubist sculpture opens up new ways of seeing the human body. It captures the dynamics of movement, translating it into rhythmic, abstract geometric volumes. Expansive masterpieces of modern art, such as Alexander Archipenko’s ‘Boxers’ and Rudolf Belling’s ‘Triad’, were created in this manner.

The German-French artist Hans Arp was influenced by Cubist ideas,but also looked to nature’s organic forms for inspiration, thus developing his singular abstract style. Arp’s sculptures are characterized by soft rounded shapes and curved lines, which reveal nature’s hidden processes of growth and transformation. On display alongside Arp’s sculptures are fragile-looking plaster objects and sensuous, tactile bronzes by the Czechoslovakian artist Mária Bartuszová. Although she worked behind the Iron Curtain for many years, isolated from the Western art world, her work nevertheless bears the influence of Constantin Brâncu ¸si, Henry Moore, and Hans Arp. However, Bartuszová’s biomorphic abstract sculptures have an unmistakable sensual and erotic, psychological quality. Some of the small works, mostly plaster casts of organic forms, were made to be held in the hand; others were integrated into nature in site-specific installations. The sculptures evoke associations of painful transformation processes, birth and pulsating life, but also dying and death.

Photo: View of room 5 of the exhibition with works by Pablo Picasso (back left), Alexander Archipenko (front left) and Hans Arp (back center and right). Photo: Haydar Koyupinar © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 / Succession Picasso

EXHIBITION VIEW: ROOM 6 | XOXOSkeleton

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque began developing the Cubist style in 1906–1907, breaking radically with the pictorial tradition up to that point. Their search for a new visual language led them to reject verisimilitude in rendering outer appearances and to dissect images into individual geometric forms; Cubism thereby laid the groundwork for all subsequent avant-garde movements. For contemporary artists engaging with self-reflexive approaches to painting and sculpture, Cubism remains a central reference point. Through assemblage and collage, Cubism expanded traditional easel painting into the third dimension, and thus laid the foundations for a broader understanding of art that would soon include conceptual and installation art.

Picasso’s sculptures were a crucial source of inspiration for the Los Angeles-based US artist Aaron Curry, as he shifted his attention from painting to sculpture. In his painted, cut-plywood works Curry combines the Cubist grid with organic, biomorphic forms. He creates hybrid objects which incorporate two and three-dimensionality, figuration and abstraction, as well as painting and sculpture.

The Austrian painter Tobias Pils also explores the interface between figurative and abstract art that characterizes Cubism. By forgoing the chromatic scale for a reduced palette of black, white, and grey, Pils has adopted the conceptual approach of ‘analytical’ Cubism. Guided by intuition, he employs powerful lines and grids to evoke associations with objects, only to have them dissipate again.

Photo: View of room 6 of the exhibition with works by Pablo Picasso (1st and 3rd from left), Aaron Curry (2nd and 4th from left) and Tobias Pils (right). Photo: Margarita Platis © Succession Picasso / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 / Aaron Curry, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz, Munich

Exhibition view: Room 11 | Homage to the Square

Walter Gropius founded the ‘Bauhaus’, a school of art and design, in Weimar in 1919. Until it was shut down by the Nazis in 1933, it thrived as a laboratory for aesthetic innovation and lifestyle reform that continues to have an impact to this day. The school’s structure was modelled on medieval masons’ guilds involved in cathedral-building, whereby artists, architects, and craftsmen formed an entity. Oskar Schlemmer, László Moholy-Nagy, Josef Albers, and other renowned international artists taught at the Bauhaus, shaping its legendary reputation as an avant-garde institution, and transporting its ideas into the world.

The presentation highlights how individual artists working in a geometric, abstract style have advanced impulses of the Bauhaus. Here particular focus is given to textile works. The American artist Andrea Zittel fuses art and life in her practice, by creating both independent artworks and utilitarian objects. Rosemarie Trockel uses knitted fabric for her abstract, minimalist pictures. Wool was long considered an inferior material unsuitable for fine art, belonging to the realm of crafts, where it was traditionally worked by women. Trockel investigates whether that negative image persists once the material is placed in a new context. Katja Strunz takes up the abstract formal vocabulary of Constructivism. She finds objects for her three-dimensional reliefs at scrapyards and flea markets. Traces of the past are not erased, but remain part of the work as the ‘second present of the past’.

Photo: View of room 11 of the exhibition with works by Takesada Matsutani, Josef Albers, Andrea Zittel, Oskar Schlemmer (from left to right; front: Andrea Zittel). Photo: Haydar Koyupinar © Takesada Matsutani/ The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/ VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2020/ Andrea Zittel