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15 September 2019 to 17 August 2020
1919 49 69 ff.
New beginning – this concept suggests both leaving behind as well as starting again. Art reflects people’s self-image, needs and utopias. The relationship between art and society functions in both directions, however, as works of art live up to challenges, perhaps pointing the way to a possible path or being available to be exploited for propaganda purposes. Thus the architect Walter Gropius described “the new structure of the future” in his manifesto on founding the Bauhaus (1919) as the “crystal symbol of a new faith”, while Franz Wilhelm Seiwert of the Cologne Progressives group saw art as a means of political agitation: “We use the
picture in order to enable external realities to become real in the picture: profit machines, slave labour, exploiters, the exploited.” Propeller,ventilator and crystal are metaphors that profoundly capture the image of a new beginning. After the catastrophe of the Second World War new
beginnings in art were less marked by the visionary: reconstruction and re-mythologizing the city, a longing for an intellectual life offering self-reassurance, but also new heroes of literature straining against the tenacious bonds of tradition. Alfred Andersch wrote in his programmatic
text for the Group 47: “If we see poetry as a matter of poets making existential decisions we elevate it to that realm of freedom which is the only place where it can be generated.” This leads us to contemporary art with its thematic focus on breaking new ground, as artists question and research human existence. The derestriction of the psyche, “simple” means and the search for a visual idiom beyond existing categories, along with sound as a medium for exploring spatial dimensions and space as themes in art: these are all facets of possible new beginnings. Over the
course of this year of exhibitions, we direct our attention in smaller shows and projects to painting that is still full of life – thought the demise of this painting was foreseen by Duchamp as early as 1912, when he declared that the form of the propeller had become the new ideal.
Art museum of the