German Painting after World War II: this exhibition highlights the work of four German painters who came to the attention of an international public during the last third of the twentieth century: Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter; Gallery 103. Process and Materiality in Art at the Mid-Twentieth Century focuses upon Arte Povera and Process Art through the works of artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Robert Morris or Richard Serra, among others; Gallery 104. Joseph Beuys is represented in this presentation by an in-depth selection of works in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Gallery 105.
German Painting after World War II
Curator: Tracey R. Bashkoff
Dates: February 5 - July 7, 2002
Drawn from the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, this exhibition highlights the work of four German painters who came to the attention of an international public during the last third of the twentieth century: Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter.
Although diverse in practice and subject, the works presented in German Painting after World War II share an interest in subverting realism frequently suggested through the picture plane, while maintaining references to national cultural heritage and, more specifically, to the traditions of German painting. The works of these artists build upon the post-World War II practice of Joseph Beuys exploring the profound despair and struggle faced by the nation, while encouraging a renewal of spirit.
Both Baselitz and Kiefer employ emotive brushwork to blend the figurative with the abstract and to suggest the tumultuous emotional state of post-World War II Germany. The iconographic language found in the ravaged burning landscape of Kieferâ€™s Seraphim (1983-84) refers to both the holocaust and Nazi spiritual beliefs, while Baselitzâ€™s inverted figure in The Gleaner (Die Ã„hrenleserin) (August 1978), suggests the importance and isolation of the individual during the struggle to rebuild after the war. Sigmar Polkeâ€™s Katheriners Morgenlatte (1980), parodies contemporary societyâ€™s values and earnest encouragement of a daily dose of high art. Also on view is Gerhard Richterâ€™s SeestÃ¼ck (Seascape) (1998), a work newly acquired by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Richter painted his first group of seascapes in 1968, a subject which he took up again in 1975 and which he has returned to recently. This Seascape, of 1998, is one of his most recent creations and fuses painting and photography, thereby questioning the ability of each medium to achieve pictorial illusion. The paint is applied smoothly, maintaining a very flat surface, increased by the slightly misty effect it creates. The resulting image is similar to a blurred photograph; however, the large scale of the work, with its emphasis on the wide expanse of the sea, is indicative of the insignificance of man compared to the immensity of nature.
Title: Process and Materiality in Art at the Mid-Twentieth Century
Curator: Tracey R. Bashkoff
Dates: February 19, 2002 - January, 2003
Process and Materiality in Art at the Mid-Twentieth Century focuses upon Arte Povera and Process Art through the works of artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Robert Morris or Richard Serra, among others.
Arte Povera incorporates humble, organic, industrial materials and even, on occasions, ephemeral materials as a means of revealing the conflicts that exist between the natural order and that created by man. Through sculptures, assemblages and performances, Arte Povera explores the relationships between life and art, between vision and thought. For its part, Process Art highlights the creative process of a work of art and the concepts of change and transience. It is a way of creating works of art in terms of the process of time instead of as static, durable icons. Using unusual objects, the process artists create eccentric forms in random or irregular arrangements, as a reflection of their interest in the transformation and properties of materials. For Jannis Kounellis, art evolves in response to and as an expression of fundamental theological, intellectual and political thought patterns. But he determined that postwar European society lacked appropriate aesthetic forms through which to reflect the fragmentary nature of contemporary civilization. As of 1967 he began producing sculptures, installations and performances that intentionally embraced the fragmentary and the ephemeral, in association with a number of Italian artists who were pursuing the analogous goals that gave rise to Arte Povera. Their work incorporated organic and industrial materials resulting in poetic confrontations between nature, culture and the environment fabricated by man. Mario Merz envisions the contemporary artist as a nomad, shifting from one environment to another and resisting stylistic uniformity while mediating between nature and culture. For Merz, the form of the igloo-a transitory dwelling-expresses his faith in the liberating powers of restlessness with the world and its values.
A major work in this presentation is Snake by Richard Serra, commissioned expressly by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The innovative and challenging nature of the building highlights the manufacturing process, the characteristics of the materials and the commitment to the spectator and the surroundings, creating a dialogue between the work and the architectural environment.
Also on view in this presentation is Lightning with Stag in its Glare (Blitzschlag mit Lichtschein auf Hirsch), 1958-85, another recent acquisition made by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for its own Collection. The installation is formed by several sculptural elements cast in bronze and aluminum. Beuys completed this artwork in 1985, some months before he died. Lightning with Stag in its Glare derives from a previous installation, Workshop (Werkstatt), from 1982, a huge hill-shaped mound of loam executed to mark the Zeitgeist exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau. At the end of the exhibition, part of the enormous mound of loam was molded in plaster and subsequently cast in bronze to transform it into the sculpture of lightning. The inverted mountain, hanging from the ceiling, thus becomes a metaphorical flash of lightning that may well represent the latent energy that lies behind creation. The Stag is surrounded by amorphous primordial animals literal descriptions of the awakening of the earth in its organic creatures. Joseph Beuys
Curator: Tracey R. Bashkoff
Dates: February 19 - December, 2003
Joseph Beuys is arguably the most important artist to have emerged in Germany since the last postwar period. As artist, teacher, activist and visionary, Beuys exercised extraordinary influence over his younger contemporaries who, like him, tried to come to terms with their countryâ€™s traumatic postwar history. Beuysâ€™ oeuvre explores the desperation and difficulties facing Germany while attempting to stimulate spiritual renewal.
The influential German artist Joseph Beuys is represented in this presentation by an in-depth selection of works in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. By 1962, Beuys had ceased creating traditional art objects and had turned his attention to performance art and sculptural experiments using unusual materials. Fusing art and artifact, Beuys assembled groups of objects, found or created (by him), in glass and metal vitrines such as those found in anthropological museums. His unique outlook evolved throughout his career informed by diverse sources, including German history, Shamanism, and Rudolf Steinerâ€™s Anthroposophy.
Beuysâ€™s awareness of alchemy led him to associate particular materials and forms with potential transformative qualities. Later in his career, Beuys expanded his oeuvre to include "social sculpture" that resulted from public discussion and exists as sculptural installations in tandem with these interactions. Also fundamental to Beuysâ€™s practice are his drawings, which he described as the "energy source" inspiring his work in other media.
Guggenheim Bilbao Museum
Abandoibarra, Et. 2 48001 Bilbao (Vizcaya) ESPAÃ‘A
Tuesday to Suanday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday: closed
In July and August the Museum opens Monday to sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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Galleries begin closing 15 minutes before museum closing time
The Museum will be closed on December 25th and January 1st.
General admission fees 2002
Adults: 7,00 Euros
Senior citizens and pensioner: 3,50
Children under 12 and accompanied enter free
Groups (minimum 20): 6,30