Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
© Schmidt, Karlsruhe
Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
Lichtentaler Allee 8A
Telefax 0049-(0)7221 - 30076 - 500
Tues Sun 11.00-18.00 hrs
Wed 11.00-20.00 hrs
Director: Karola Grässlin
THE KUNSTHALLE BADEN-BADEN
The Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is an exhibition venue for international modern and contemporary art. Built in 1909 to a design by architects Hermann Billing and Wilhelm Vittali at the park on Lichtentaler Allee, the museum has at its disposal nine sky-lit rooms and a cabinet (approx. 700 square metres in all) for mounting alternating exhibitions. The Neo-Classicist building, which houses no collection of its own, provides an ideal platform for staging dialogues between the artwork and its surrounding space; the versatility of this forum facilitates that dialogue in all the media (painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation).
The Kunsthalle owes its reputation in the international art context not just to its unusually attractive rooms, but also to its consistent promotion of contemporary art and its close cooperation with artists and international partners, a collaboration to which all the museum's directors have felt duty bound since the state of Baden-W?rttemberg took over the institution in 1952.
In addition to extensive monographic shows (Dan Flavin, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, John Armleder, or, more recently, Rita McBride, Thomas Ruff and Corinne Wasmuht) and group exhibitions of young art from at home and abroad, the exhibition programme since 1998 has also included studio exhibitions, which represent a forum for young artists (Peter Bonde, Mette Tronvoll, Stefan Hoderlein).
Furthermore, theme-oriented exhibitions reflect and enliven the current status of art discourse, or else take up specific thematic or formal issues: for example, 'Minimal Maximal' examined the reception of Minimalism in the 1990s, 'Bad Bad' the ironic use of pictorial vocabularies coloured by clich?s and consumerism, and 'Die verletzte Diva' the interplay between hysteria, body and technology in 20th century art. In 2001/2002, an exhibition entitled 'Du sollst Dir ein Bild machen Ð Die fremden Ebenbilder des Menschen in der Kunst' focused on man as reflected in associated fields, be they otherworldly ('Big Nothing'), mechanical ('Ich bin mein Auto') or animalistic ('Das Tier in mir'). With 'Prophets of Boom Ð Werke aus der Sammlung Sch?rmann', in 2002, a series presenting private collections of young art began: 'Die Wohltat der Kunst Ð Postfeministische Positionen der 90er Jahre aus der Sammlung Goetz' (2002), '(In Search of) The Perfect Lover Ð Werke von Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, Paul McCarthy und Raymond Pettibon aus der Sammlung Hauser and Wirth' (2003). February 2004 will mark the beginning of the exhibition trilogy 'Multiple R?ume Ð Seele, Park, Film', with the show 'Seele Ð Konstruktionen des Innerlichen in der Kunst'.
In order to mediate the artistic positions and issues presented in the exhibitions, the Kunsthalle organises regular discussions, lectures and talks with artists in a series entitled "DIALOG/DIAGONAL".
For information on the current programme and its accompanying events, as well as on the cinema-summer in the park in front of the Kunsthalle, concerts, and readings, we publish a Newsletter four times a year; with its brief introductions to the exhibitions, this publication complements the exhibition catalogues.
September 2002 saw the beginning of construction work on the building that will house the internationally first-rate Frieder Burda Collection, the Kunsthalle's partner and future neighbour. The years 2003 and 2004 also mean a period of reconstruction and renewal for the Kunsthalle. With due respect for the architecture of Hermann Billing, much-lauded by visitors, architects and artists alike, the Kunsthalle foyer is to be considerably extended so as to be able to accommodate new functions. The reconstruction will integrate the glazed bridge in the foyer linking the Kunsthalle and the Frieder Burda Collection, and a joint caf? for visitors to both museums will be included. What is more, during the day the foyer will also be an inspiring reading-room, while in the evening it can be a venue for film showings and other events. In the course of this re-building work in 2003/2004, the Kunsthalle will still be presenting exhibitions and projects and cultivating a concerted dialogue with its visitors in the form of lectures and talks with artists.
Lost & Found
Hungary and Contemporary Art
9 December 2006 25 February 2007
Hungarian artists and writers are famous for the “dual art” they practice in their Budapest cafés: taking life seriously while at the same time dismissing it with an ironic gesture. They succeed in doing this by observing themselves (and their country) through the café window, that is to say, from outside. In other words: to be capable of art at all, artists must always distance themselves from the routine of their everyday lives.
Artists draw our attention to things and situations we have come to terms with, though without giving them much thought, things and situations so commonplace they slip our minds. What is more, artists in Hungary today are pointing up developments that are submerging and replacing the past and the familiar at such a speed that it is scarcely possible to reflect on them. They are productively linking their inner perspective, their intimate knowledge of the conditions, with an outside perspective, an aesthetic and mental distance.
It is from this position of outsiders in their own society that the artists in the exhibition hold up the mirror to their compatriots, while at the same time functioning as mediators with the outside. The exhibition thus provides unusual insight into the society and culture of a European neighbour inner views which are on this side of a cliché-tinged view reduced to particular touristy or political features.
The title of the exhibition, “Lost & Found”, can be read in two directions. Through its allusion to the idea of a lost paradise (John Milton's epic Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained) it touches on a sense of suffering, still virulent in Hungary, related to the loss of the golden age of the Empire and in particular to the recent, lamented, expulsion from the (partly idealized) comforts of the socialist system. The impact of the widely debated path, taken by business and politics, towards a recovery of paradise in the Europe of tomorrow is already being felt in all aspects of everyday life.
The title can also be read as a metaphor for the visit to the exhibition: In the ideal case, the visitor will come to the Kunsthalle as if it were a lost-property office (the sign in England usually reads Lost & Found) where he will receive not the umbrella he has lost but perhaps an unclaimed telescope. Expecting to find his old familiar image of Hungary again, he is presented with a whole new view of things.
The exhibition will show works by 18 artists, some produced recently, others specially for the exhibition. Through their paintings, objects, installations, photographs and video works the participating artist underscore, with discernment and humour, typical-untypical situations and objects of everyday life in Hungary and thereby initiate a readjustment of our image of the country.
Artists in the exhibition:
Balázs Beöthy, Mária Chilf, Ágnes Eperjesi, Gábor Gerhes,Zsolt Keserue, Antal Lakner, Ilona Lovas, Éva Magyarósi, Mónika Sziládi, Attila Szűcs
With the generous support of:
Ministry of Science, Research and Art, Baden-Württemberg
Ministry of Education and Culture, Hungary in the framework of the Year of Hungarian Culture in Germany 2006/2007, “Hungarian Accent”.
BALLERINA IN A WHIRLPOOL
Works by Isa Genzken, Richard Jackson, Roman Signer and Diana Thater
from the Hauser & Wirth Collection
30 September - 19 November 2006
Opening: Friday 29 September 2006, 7 pm
With a dance performance by Cherrycab
Hovering above an open washing machine is a life-size doll made of polyester and fibreglass dressed in a ballet tutu and attached to the ceiling and wall from the top of her head by means of a metal bolt. The ballerina on the machine is standing still, her leg stretched out in an arabesque as if she were about to do a pirouette. As a machine with human features, she repeatedly carries out the same artistic movements. Like the other works in the exhibition, the ballerina also addresses the theme of space and time, the role of the observer and perception.
Four internationally renowned artist, represented in the outstanding Hauser & Wirth Collection with works that are as visionary as they are spectacular, devote their attentions here to these particular issues. What the works by Isa Genzken, Richard Jackson, Roman Signer and Diana Thater have in common is an engagement with real space, which they redefine and present, or whose restrictions they overcome by illusionistic means. In doing so, they imbue the dynamics of circular movements with a particular significance: all the works unfold a dialect of inside and outside, the centred and the eccentric, the circular and the linear. The observer, who normally takes a passive standpoint vis-à-vis the work, finds himself at the centre of things here; if he wants to fully grasp the respective work he first has to find his own place, has to move.
Isa Genzken (born 1948) focuses on the things we surround ourselves with. Her imaginative architectural models satirise impressive facades, whose frontality she shatters. These models invite us to explore as many views as possible. The artist arranges images that confront daily into a wall frieze, turning the room into a space where we can experience distances.
All the works in the exhibition by Richard Jackson (born 1939) literally revolve in circles. The hands of a 1000 clocks constantly move around the clock faces, thereby allowing us to experience time as physical. Besides the “Ballerina” described above revolving around her own axis and thus giving the space a touch of colour, there is also a robot stamping circular line patterns on paper.
By contrast, Roman Signer (born 1938) has been preoccupied since the early 1970s with natural forces which he both uses and artistically creates. The actions documented in his films and photographs remain poised on the borderline between nature and art, permanence and suddenness. Once art leaves a back-door open to chance and the dynamics of nature, however, situations that seem dangerous and threatening also harbour surprises.
Diana Thater (born 1962) also explores the relationship between art and nature in her video installations, summing it up by reference to the relationship between man and animal. When animals seem too close to humans, as in the case of dressage, we are forced to redefine our standpoint. For our exhibition the artist transposes this challenge to take a stand through the use of estrangement and alienation.
The exhibition is curated by Michaela Unterdörfer (Hauser & Wirth Collection) and Fritz Emslander (Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden).
An exhibition catalogue will be published by Snoeck Verlag with an essay by Michaela Unterdörfer and introductory texts by Fritz Emslander, Karolin Kober, Sabine Sarwa and Barbara Wagner, plus numerous illustrations (German/English, pp. 176, € 24, ISBN 3-936859-47-7).
15 July to 17 September 2006
Press conference: 14 July 2006, 11 am
Opening: 14 July, 7 pm
“My sculptures don't tell stories. Something mysterious is concealed in them. It's not my task to reveal this, but the task of the viewer to discover it.” (Stephan Balkenhol)
Stephan Balkenhol (born 1957) is one of those trail-blazing German sculptors who in the last two decades has also exerted a great influence internationally. The Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is devoting an extensive exhibition to the oeuvre of this sculptor, who has been teaching at the Kunstakademie Karlsruhe since 1992. The show will focus on Balkenhol's technical mastery and on the diversity of his intellectual and cultural references. The human form, the head, animals, and recently also architecture, are the motifs Balkenhol which chooses for his sculptures, drawings and photographs.
To a certain extent Balkenhol's creative approach is a response to the minimalist strategies of Ullrich Rückriem, his teacher at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg from 1976 to 1982. Since the early 1980s, Balkenhol has been exploring what can actually be shown, sensed, seen by means of statuary images against the backdrop of the current engagement with the tradition of classical sculpture.
At the centre of Balkenhol's work is the human form. The artist gouges his figures out of the tree trunk; traces left by the tools, branch notches and splits in the wood are left visible. Paint is used in a reduced form to structure the sculpture. The figures seem both personal and anonymous. Gestures, poses and facial expressions suggest both inner distance and an attentive openness towards the viewer. Balkenhol's figures are not lively “storytellers”. Instead the artist seeks to condense human physiognomy and appearance, with the result that his figures seem unpretentious, unobtrusive and simultaneously removed from time: “I don't want talkative, expressive figures, which is why I seek an open expression from out of which all states are possible.” The openness of his figures, the renunciation of gesture and a narrative context, is a counter reaction to a deliberately present-oriented or illustrative figuration that may well address an individual aspect, but, being a kind of instantaneous take, restricts all other possible interpretations.
The freedom and easy accessibility of Balkenhol's work is due to this kind of strange closeness. By turning to themes of everyday in his sculptures, reliefs and extensive installations, the artist has fathomed new aesthetic dimensions - also in the public domain and in the context of architecture - and thereby made new options available for contemporary sculpture.
In addition to the sculptures and reliefs dedicated to the human figure, the animal, mythical motifs and architecture, the exhibition will feature the many-sided and often less known facets of this artist's sculptural work and his large drawings and photographs.
The show was curated by Matthias Winzen in close collaboration with Stephan Balkenhol; an extensive and richly-illustrated catalogue in German and English will be published.
DEPTH OF FIELD
Pictures of Man, from the photograph collection of the Institut d'Art Contemporain - Frac Rhone-Alpes, Villeurbanne/Lyon and the Musee d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Metropole
13 May - 2 July 2006
Opening Friday, 12 May 2006, 7 pm
These two collections of the Institut d'art contemportain - Collection Rhone-Alpes in Villeurbanne/Lyon and the Musee d'art moderne in Saint-Etienne Metropole - are indicative of the outstanding stocks of historical and contemporary photographs in the Rhone-Alpes region, which are scarcely known outside of France. The exhibition will present a thematic cross-section of the collections with numerous key works from the history of photography: photographic images of people in their everyday surroundings
The photographic term “depth of field” refers to the extension of the realm of sharpness into the depth of the photographic image. A photograph with depth of field links a person into his or her surrounding space. The focus is thus also on the living or working space, which is implicitly or explicitly addressed. Unlike the paparazzo whose superficial images cause the subjects to disappear, photographs taken in the tradition of emphatic observation approach their subject attentively so that the image penetrate to the deeper social and psychological levels.
Subsequent to the orientalist photographers of the 19th century (Carlo Naya, Adrien Bonfils) whose images were still influenced by the practice of staged studio portraits, the travel photographs of the early 20th century provide subtle impressions of the homes and cultures of foreign peoples (Cecil Beaton, Nicolas Muller, Raoul Hausmann). The development of ever smaller cameras and special lenses enabled photographers to appraise the depth and breadth of the space of the street - that space where people stroll or work, at home and abroad. Since the 1860s, therefore, straight photography (John Thomson) has confronted the viewer with the “other”, with the people next door: Blacks in the socially deprived districts of New York around 1940 (Helen Levitt) or unskilled labourers in London in the 1950s (Nigel Henderson). Under the trail-blazing influence of Walker Evans, the documentary studies of straight photography as of the 1950s focussed on the everyday life of the American middle class (William Eggleston), people at work (Lee Friedlaner) or at leisure activities typical of their class or nationality (Robert Frank, Tony Ray-Jones).
In the 1980s a subjective view began to take precedence over these mainly anonymous portraits. Sometimes grouped into (pictorial) essays, these photographic studies highlight the social milieus from which the photographers themselves come and/or with which they are involved: Larry Clark photographs a group of drug addicts and weapons freaks in his hometown of Tulsa; Jean-Louis Schoellkopf grants us views of the apartments of citizens of a French industrial town; Robert Adams' photographs raise the question of everyday life, and survival, in the shadow of an American plutonium plant; Patrick Faigenbaum confronts past and present in his portraits of aristocratic Romans in their palaces, while Thomas Struth examines the social reserves of the middle and upper classes. By broadening the focus to include inhabited private or public spaces, the aspects of humanity shown here are quite different to those possible in the artificial framework and the standardised practice of the studio.
Thomas Schütte Works on Paper
11 March 30 April 2006
Press conference: 10 March 2006, 11 am
Opening: 10 March 2006, 7 pm
Sculptors produce a lot of sketches and drawings Drafts for sculptures explore space and form in the two-dimensional medium before the concept is given a three-dimensional form. It stands to reason to compare the draft and the final sculpture.
Things are different with Thomas Schütte (born 1954), who is regarded as one of the most versatile and internationally distinguished sculptors of the middle generation. The Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is presenting works on paper which he has continually produced in large quantities over the past 30 years alongside his sculpture projects. Although work titles such as "Sketches for sculptures" suggest that a direct link might be made between drawing and work, nevertheless these draft drawings were seldom intended as the basis for sculptural projects; they are autonomous works and, as an independent medium, serve the purposes of artistic insight.
Thomas Schütte's works testify to an intense preoccupation with current social and political issues, which in the artistic interpretation undergo an often ironic twist. He comments on the dramatic tone of political slogans and thereby questions the tendency to render everyday reality theatrically. The wilful constructions in his architectonic designs continue the architecture of postmodernism, taking it to absurd extremes. His portrait drawings raise analytically and psychologically urgent questions which the draughtsman perhaps did not intend.
In addition to groups of works from famous collections, the exhibition will include large-format works from the artist's studio dating back to 1980s, which have never been shown in public before and provide insight into the genesis and concretisation of pictorial ideas.
The project was organised by Matthias Winzen and the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in cooperation with the De Pont museum of contemporary art in Tilburg and the Neue Museum. Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in Nuremberg. An exhibition catalogue is being published by Snoeck-Verlag, with texts by Melitta Kliege, Barbara Wagner and Matthias Winzen. ISBN-3-936859-36-1