A critical view of the Neuen Wilden
Back / Zurück
Sept. 27, 2003 - Jan. 4, 2004
Opening: Sept. 26, 2003, 5 p.m.
At the beginning of the 1980s, having apparently been all but ousted by minimal and concept art,
painting once again blossomed, with great passion but only for a short time. In Berlin, Cologne
and Hamburg, young artists joined forces as the Neue Wilde, rebelling against what
Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter had been producing.
Their radically subjective focus gave birth to highly expressive paintings with a powerful
use of color. Within just a few months their large canvases had taken art markets by storm and
already found homes in renowned collections. Nonetheless then, as now, this form of
"zestful painting" polarized the art world. And because to date no conclusive view
on this artistic trend has been forthcoming, the Museum für Neue Kunst intends to subject
the paintings to closer examination and throw them open for discussion in the context of
a panoramic exhibition. On the basis of over 40 prominent works from the
as well as loans from other collections and museums, the exhibition
aims to address the goals and the visions of those young artists who as early as the beginning
of the 1980s focused their attention so vehemently on the medium of painting.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2003
At the end of the 1970s a return to figurative painting was gradually emerging in the work of
the Berlin painters Rainer Fetting, Helmut Middendorf, Salomé (Wolfgang Cihlarz) and
Bernd Zimmer. Their burlesque, ecstatic imagery are a demonstration of the increasingly
subjective nature of painting, which, while apparently following in the footsteps of German
Expressionism took the Berlin sub-culture, Punk and new wave music as its subject matter.
The works on display in the Museum für Neue Kunst show that in addition to Salomé and
Fetting's exhibitionist treatment of their own sexuality, classical themes, such as Zimmer's
landscapes once again became the focus of attention.
Eine Braut kehrt zurück (rechtzeitig), 1983
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2003
At the same time as the Neue Wilden in Berlin, Hans Peter Adamski, Peter Bömmels,
Walter Dahn, Jiří Georg Dokoupil, Gerard Kever and Gerhard Naschberger all
rented a joint studio in Cologne, and named it after the street in which it was located:
No. 110. In comparison with the pictures being produced in Berlin, these humorously ironical
pictures, which were influenced by the Italian Arte Cifra, have even less in common
stylistically. As such, the early joint pictures by Walter Dahn and Jiří Georg Dokoupil
demonstrate that Cologne Neo-Expressionism nurtured various individual styles at once and, what
is more, defied any compartmentalization.
Artists in Hamburg such as Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen took a
different approach: there, not only the artist as a personality but also his views on the
standardized values of a bourgeois mindset were most important. At first sight their canvases
seemed almost amateurish, but in reality they consciously eschewed perfection, and their
frequently somber pictures were a form of revolt against the apathy resulting form the
affluence of the 1980s.
Moderne Kunst II, 1981
Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
© Werner Büttner
In order to illustrate the differences between the individual groups, the 140 works on show
have been allocated to three sections, which correspond to the three regional centers.
These are grouped around a separate time tunnel, which runs through the exhibition diagonally
and highlights the different stages of established German painting.
A catalogue with articles by Diedrich Diederichsen, Jiří Georg Dokoupil,
Rainer Fetting, Ulrike Gehring, Ralph Melcher, Friedrich E. Rentschler, Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen
and Sabine Schwarz accompanies the exhibition, and is available for EUR 25.00.
Letzte Änderung: Mittwoch, 24. September 2003 um 13:17:42 Uhr
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