August Macke, Stillleben mit Apfelschale und japanischem Fächer, 1911, loan from a private collection, photo: Reni Hansen


The presentation RUSHING INTO MODERNISM is divided into three chapters that focus on the painterly and graphic works in the Collection of Classic Modernism—August Macke and the Rhenish Expressionists. These sections narrate individual episodes of the history of the beginning of the 20th century so as to situate the artworks on display in a more extensive historical context. There is no adherence here to a strict presentational form of classical art history; instead the underlying idea is that works of art communicate on many levels and give rise to insightful knowledge. They convey to us something about their creation, about the scientific epistemes of the era, about art-historical discourses, about societies and their members as well as about contemporary viewers. What is important here is the relationship of works of art to other objects, utensils, inventions and discoveries that are an expression of fundamental orientations towards the world. Not only is each of these phenomena, whether significant or inconsequential, based on this perspective with respect to the world, but it is in fact this orientation that first generates these phenomena. The presentation shows in individual segments what happened simultaneously in different areas of cultural, scientific or social life. Here the history of the works of art is integrated into highly diverse constellations of things.

This means that works of art can always be interpreted in terms of multiple meanings and are accordingly complex structures that can be connected with various frames of reference. We consider those frames of reference to include not only art-immanent aspects but also extra-artistic—cultural, historical, technical, scientific, etc.—discourses, concepts and findings as well as fictions. Hence works of art possess an open structure that does not allow their interpretation to come to a definitive conclusion. Our manner of reading the presentation occurs against the backdrop of the AWAKENING INTO MODERNISM, the entry into a new century that holds in readiness sweeping changes on all levels of human existence.

With an artistic intervention by Mischa Kuball.

Here you can take a look at the booklet accompanying the exhibition. You can obtain it free of charge at the information counter in the museum foyer.

Insights into the exhibition


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