Since the 1980s, Lisa and Stephan Oehmen’s collection has grown both steadily and organically. It owes its clear focus on figurative painting not only to the formative encounter with Dieter Krieg, as well as to the friendship with Hartmut Neumann, who as a long-standing professor at the Braunschweig University of Fine Arts established many contacts with young graduates of the university. Today, the spectrum of the collection ranges from Tim Berresheim and Andreas Schulze, to André Butzer and Miriam Cahn, to Judith Samen and Pieter Schoolwerth. Within this conglomerate, the approximately 40 works acquired by the couple from all of Dieter Krieg’s creative periods represent the centerpiece.
Dieter Krieg (1937-2005) is one of the important, yet to this day not adequately appreciated representatives within German painting of the second half of the 20th century. After his studies at the Karlsruhe Art Academy with HAP Grieshaber and the early conceptual works in the early to mid-1970s, he developed, along with Walter Stöhrer and Horst Antes, into one of the central representatives of a New Figuration, which opposed the then prevailing primacy of abstraction. Dieter Krieg’s painterly furor, always conceptually grounded, was ignited by the image and the object, but always remained linked to a critical examination of his own painterly activity. In this respect, it would be an abridgement to describe Krieg as a representational painter. It was more important for him to provoke the question of what we actually see when we look at his motifs, which are often enlarged to an oversized scale. With the convolute from the collection of the Oehmens couple in Hilden, the museum now has a valid and high-quality cross-section of Dieter Krieg’s work.
The title of the exhibition refers to a work of Dieter Kriegs, in which he realized within the years 1975 and 1976 a reading of all artist names listed in the 36 volumes of the art-encyclopedia Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart.