art KARLSRUHE 2018 from an Art Historical Perspective
Naturally: a trade fair is a trade fair – and not a museum. At art KARLSRUHE too, there is plenty of movement at exhibitors’ stands. Hung paintings are repeatedly replaced by other artworks after the originally exhibited ones have been purchased and carried home by collectors. Rather than contemplative silence, the scene features lively encounters and animated discussions among artists, gallerists and visitors. But as we have observed year after year, this fair is indeed somewhat reminiscent of a museum. This impression is not solely thanks to the impressive staging of the artworks in the trade fair’s high-ceilinged, column-free, light-flooded halls. It also derives from the fact that art KARLSRUHE offers the complete spectrum of 20th-century art, further augmented by the newest works from contemporary ateliers, so that a stroll through fair can be experienced as a stimulating tour of art history.
Karl Hofer,Blumenstilleben,1933, Öl auf Leinwand, monogrammiert und datiert, 56 x 38,7 cm,Provenienz: Märkisches Museum Witten/Ruhr, Sammlungen: Noelle/Witten, Dieterle/Basel und Sander/Darmstadt
Classic Modern Art
A look at the list of artists immediately reveals that art KARLSRUHE 2018 presents even more works of Classic Modern art than ever before. The illustrious roster seems to lack none of the great artists who inarguably wrote new chapters in art history during the past century. Of course, Cubists are represented here, e.g. Georges Braque (in Hall 3 at: 20l21 Modern & Contemporary Art, Munich; Rudolf, Kampen; and Gilden’s Arts, London) and Pablo Picasso (likewise in Hall 3 at: Ludorff, Düsseldorf; Raphael, Frankfurt; and at other stands). Visitors can naturally view paintings by Surrealists such as Salvador Dali (e.g. at Galeria Cortina, Barcelona, Hall 2) and Max Ernst (Die Galerie, Frankfurt, Hall 2; and Schwarzer, Düsseldorf, Hall 3). The fantastic overview runs from Max Beckmann (Draheim, Eltville, Hall 3) through Lovis Corinth (Kunstkontor Dr. Möllers, Münster, Hall 3) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Bailly Gallery, Geneva, Hall 3) to Joan Miró (Bommer, Zürich, Hall 2). Moreover art KARLSRUHE also offers outstanding positions of a special kind. For example, Galerie Rotermund, Hamburg, will show paintings by Karl Hofer; Kunsthandel Hagemeier, Frankfurt, will display artworks by George Grosz; and St. Gertrude, Hamburg, will feature Hannah Höch (all in Hall 3). It is also noteworthy that numerous exhibitors will surprise aficionados by showing artworks created by Classic Modern sculptors, for example: Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz (at Koch-Westenhoff, Lübeck, Hall 3).
Art historical background:
The phrase “Classic Modern” is a collective designation for trailblazers of 20th-century art: pioneers such as Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso. Although they are frequently mentioned in the same breath, these artists often have little more in common than the decades in which they lived – because the past century was also the century of the most widely diverse art styles. Artists often argued vehemently: friendships shattered; new groups and movements crystallized. Cubists (e.g. Juan Gris and Fernand Léger) and Futurists (e.g. Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni) made an impact on the art of the era; Dadaists (e.g. Francis Picabia and Kurt Schwitters) and Surrealists (e.g. Joan Miró and René Magritte) likewise left their traces and influenced several generations of subsequent artists. Like-minded painters and sculptors often congregated temporarily in individual countries and cities. In Austria, an art dominated by painters such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele evolved in the milieu of the Viennese Secession. In Mexico, Frida Kahlo and above all Diego Rivera strongly influenced the artistic development. Last but not least, the oft-cited Classic Modern era also includes artistic positions that make one’s own personal perception seem meaningful, e.g. German Expressionism (Kirchner, Nolde, et alia) and American Abstract Expressionism (Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and others).
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Sängerin am Piano 1930, Öl auf Leinwand, 120 x 150cm Courtesy Galerie Henze & Ketterer
It is perhaps not merely coincidental that art KARLSRUHE 2018 displays such a remarkably large number of artworks by the American painter Sam Francis, who died in 1994. This artist, who was among Abstract Expressionism’s principal protagonists, created his first nonfigurative artworks exactly 70 years ago. Sam Francis, who earned fame for vivid colours and a style of painting distinguished by blotches and drips, is commemorated at stands in Hall 2 (Bommer, Zürich and Cortina, Barcelona); other paintings of his will be offered in Hall 3 (Draheim, Eltville; Koch, Hannover; and Gilden’s Arts, London). Moreover, Berlin-based gallerist Georg Nothelfer (Hall 2) will present two other heroes from this cadre of radical painters: Robert Motherwell and Cy Twombly. Of course, German Expressionism is always in strong demand at art KARLSRUHE. Emil Nolde’s paintings will be offered by five galleries: Draheim, Henze & Ketterer, Ludorff, Rotermund, and Schwarzer. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s works will be shown by six galleries: Bailly Gallery, Hagemeier, Henze & Ketterer, Ludorff, Rudolf, and Schwarzer). Visitors can also look forward to outstanding paintings and drawings by Die Brücke painters such as Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottloff in Hall 3. Exhibitors such as Kunstkontor Dr. Möllers, Henze & Ketterer, Rudolf, and Luzán from Berlin are preparing themselves accordingly.
Art historical background:
Around 1910, when the term “Expressionism” first came into use in Germany to denote an abstract and expressive style of painting that was simultaneously turned toward figurative motifs, the corresponding artists’ group (i.e. Die Brücke) had already been formed in 1905 in Dresden by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and others. This was followed soon afterwards (in 1911) in Munich by the Blaue Reiter, a fellowship of artists such as Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and Gabriele Münter, all of whom worked in a broader range of styles than their colleagues in Dresden. Both groups shared two features in common: their penchant for dynamic, passionate painting; and the short lifespan for their alliance. Interpersonal conflicts shattered Die Brücke in 1913; the end of the Blaue Reiter arrived even more speedily due to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. Whether they belonged to Die Brücke or Blaue Reiter, the great art historical achievements of the Expressionists were undoubtedly their vehement rejection of 19th-century Naturalism and their development of a new style of painting that was initially understand as antibourgeois.
K.R.H. Sonderborg Jonas 15.IV.53 / 20.30 - 0.30h 1953, Tempera auf Karton, 49 x 69 cm, Galerie Maulberger München
Artworks by Emil Schumacher will be shown Luzán from Berlin and naturally also by Georg Nothelfer, who is the Informal gallerist par excellence, as well as by Ludorff from Düsseldorf and Maulberger from Munich. Likewise on the list of artists for the upcoming art KARLSRUHE is Antoni Tàpies, whose creations will be shown by Cortina from Barcelona. Needless to say, paintings by Ernst Wilhelm Nay (at Ludorff), Hann Trier (at Zellermayer, Berlin) and Fritz Winter (at Henze & Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern) will hang at the fair. There can be no doubt whatsoever that Informalism, the least figurative of postwar art styles, will be strongly represented in Karlsruhe in 2018. The upcoming fair’s list of artists includes the names of all major artists in this style. Paintings by Karl Otto Götz, who died several months ago, will be represented at no fewer than six stands at the fair. Works by all other pioneers will likewise be shown: from Bernard Schultze, through K.R.H. Sonderborg, to Fred Thieler. Among the most celebrated paintings are artworks by Walter Stöhrer, who died in the year 2000 and whose works will be shown by several gallerists, including Charron from Paris and Schlichtenmaier from Grafenau. The circle of Informalist painters who await discovery in Hall 2 or Hall 3 also includes Eigen Batz (Döbele, Mannheim) and Hubert Berke (Zellermayer, Berlin). And Norbert Frensch (Galerie Schwarz, Greifswald) belongs to the younger generation of painters who continue and modify this tradition.
Art historical background:
The National Socialists’ notorious “painting ban” caused, e.g. in Germany, an enormous hunger for artistic freedom. With colour and spontaneous gestic, postwar artists voraciously satisfied this primal urge by creating paintings that were frequently interpreted as seismograms of souls that had been wounded during the war. With no recognizable objects on their canvases and no need for self-censoring scissors in their heads, the painters of the late 1940s and Fifties breathed a collective sigh of relief. As though their hands and paintbrushes were guided by otherworldly powers, they totally surrendered to the adventure, often leaving their traces on the canvases in mere seconds – or simply allowing chance to play its role, for example, by pouring thinned paint and letting it flow, or by applying their material as a viscous paste which they then scratched away or distributed coarsely and vigorously. But there were and naturally still are also some painters who allow their Informal pictorial worlds to proliferate through an elaborate, finely differentiated method, creating a microcosm that seems full of magic. Above all: the interior of the artist can unfold itself, become visible, and proclaim the liberation through painting.
Heinz Mack Ohne Titel 1970, Graphit auf Bütten, 107, 5 x 78 cm © VG BILD-KUNST Bonn, 2017, Galerie Geiger
The Zero Movement
The art of the Zero Movement has long ranked among the most strongly represented art styles at art KARLSRUHE. Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, the two main sources of impulses for the Zero Movement, will be represented in 2018 by half a dozen galleries showing paintings, sculptures, graphics and light objects; and works by Günther Uecker, who joined the movement later (in 1960) will be shown at no fewer than eight stands, including BEGE, Ulm (Hall 3), Kellermann, Düsseldorf (Hall 3), Dorothea van der Koelen, Venice/Mainz (Hall 2) and Heike Schumacher, Überlingen (Hall 1). In addition, works by artists who are likewise seen as belonging to the Zero Movement will also be on display: they include Christian Megert (Maab Gallery, Padua) and Adolf Luther (Schwarzer, Düsseldorf).
Art historical background:
They never wanted to be perceived as a group, although these artists repeatedly exhibited and performed in diverse and shifting formations. Perhaps they were too dissimilar in their artistic origins and aesthetic plans. But the time was surely ripe exactly 60 years ago, when z Mack and Otto Piene staged their first evening exhibit in Düsseldorf, where they proclaimed stillness and muteness, while many of their colleagues reached eagerly, loudly and informally into the paint pots. White was their colour, they painted with light, they appreciated the vibration: ZERO was the countdown for a new beginning, a purism that manifested itself in light steles and nail reliefs. And: ZERO was a European movement with its epicentre in the Rhineland. Artists such as Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni joined the movement from Italy, as did Jef Verheyen and Jan Schoonhoven, for example, from Holland. And yet: condensation was soon followed by distortion correction and dissolution. The official end of collaborative activities came exactly 50 years ago, or perhaps even earlier, as contemporaries recall. Whether Ob Mack, Piene or Uecker, each went his own way, technically or existentially orientated, and more or less dedicated to the truth.
Street 2005, Papier, 3D Konstruktion, 90x115 Art Licensing Int. GmbH, Galerie Art 28
art KARLSRUHE and Pop Art belong together. Ever since this art fair began in southern German in 2004, a highly regarded role at art KARLSRUHE has always been played this art style, which is influenced by mass culture and the world of consumption. Numerous exhibitors plan to bring works by outstandingly important Pop Art protagonists to the fair in 2018. Artworks by Roy Lichtenstein (Raphael, Frankfurt, Hall 3) and Andy Warhol (among others: Schwarzer, Düsseldorf and Gilden’s Arts, London, both in Hall 3) will be shown and offered for sale. Works of Pop Art, traditionally a reliable capital investment, are also available by artists such as James Francis Gill at Premium Modern Art, Heilbronn, Hall 1 and by the late James Rizzi (who died in 2011) at art box, Berlin and Art 28, Stuttgart, likewise in Hall 1). The unmistakable Icelandic artist Erró, who was born in 1932 and whose places his Pop Art in a political context, will also participate (at the stand of Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Halle ). Finally, works deserve viewing by two artists who can be understood as representative of German Pop Art: Werner Berges (DavisKlemm Gallery, Wiesbaden, Hall 2) and Moritz Götze (Rothamel, Erfurt and Frankfurt am Main, Hall 3).
Art historical background:
In the 1950s when the inventors of Pop Art began elevating the banalities and trivialities of daily life into the realm of art, thus making consumerist articles appropriate for salons and the art market, no one could have imagined that this art style would someday number among the indispensable artistic positions in art history and the art trade. The spectrum of objects, which prompt critical confrontation with the world of merchandise and which are often integrated unfiltered into the paintings, collages, sculptures and environments, ranges from comic strips to cola bottles and from advertising brochures to the national flag. American artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Mel Ramos, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann preferred an iconography that had a stylizing effect and was sometimes shrill in its colour scheme. On the other hand, their English Pop Art colleagues (for example, Peter Blake, Jim Dine, David Hockney and Allen Jones) relied more strongly on the individual expression. The continued success of Pop Art can be partially explained by the fact that it was born from a gallimaufry of consumer goods and has therefore continually found new nourishment up to and including the present day.
Franz Erhard Walther O.T. verso signiert 1976 I 8 I 1976, Gouache auf Papier, 29,5 x 21 cm, Galerie Stahlberger
Alongside all figuration and nonfigurative formations that are traditionally taken into consideration at art KARLSRUHE, the fair in 2018 also offers a series of artistic positions that can be assigned to the collective concept of Concrete art. Classic protagonists are artists such as Josef Albers (Ludorff, Düsseldorf, Hall 3) and Antonio Calderara (Canali Afra, Brescia, Hall 3). International stars such as Daniel Buren (van der Koelen, Mainz/Venice, Hall 2), Franz Erhard Walther (Stahlberger, Weil am Rhein, Hall 2) and Lawrence Weiner (March, Stuttgart, Hall 2) naturally also belong in this category, as do Heijo Hangen (Hoffmann, Friedberg, and Geiger, Konstanz), Vera Röhm (van der Koelen, as well as Gimpel & Müller, Paris) and Ludwig Wilding (Bender, Munich, Hall 2). The artist in this style who is most frequent represented at art KARLSRUHE in 2018 comes from Düsseldorf: Imi Knoebel, whose artworks can be found in Hall 3 at the stands of: Stockebrand + Uekermann, Berlin; von Fetzer, Sontheim; and Schwarzer, Düsseldorf .
Art historical background:
Unlike Abstract Art, which takes the object out of naturalism and attempts to translate it into a free form with its own inherent dynamism, Concrete Art is dedicated to the pictorial elements and their laws. The intellectual and spiritual element in art, as celebrated beginning in the 1920s and as proclaimed by Theo van Doesburg in his Concrete Art Manifesto in Paris in 1930, paves the way for widely diverse approaches to meticulously guided visual creativity. The spectrum of this art style stretches from trends like those established by Swiss Concrete artists in the milieu of Max Bill, through positions with origins in Minimalism (e.g. (Donald Judd or Sol LeWitt), to conceptual developments, for example, in the context of language (Robert Barry, Franz Erhard Walther or Lawrence Weiner); and the bandwidth has recently been further broadened through the contextual and interdisciplinary ideas of a subsequent generation of artists.
Bernd Zimmer Spiegelwasser II 2010, Acryl auf Leinwand, 110 x 90 cm, Galerie Rother Winter
One encounters Markus Lüpertz at art KARLSRUHE year after year. A visit to this fair is an obligatory event on this artist’s annual calendar. It is accordingly not so very surprising that four exhibitors will be showing his works in 2018, including a presentation on one of the Sculpture Areas. This renowned artist will surely come to see his works on display at the stands of Osper, Cologne, as well as at the stands of Kellermann and Schwarzer, both from Düsseldorf. All three of these galleries can be found in Hall 3. Markus Lüpertz’s name is also on the list of artists in Hall 1, where Kunsthaus Lübeck will present his works, along with paintings and graphics by Jörg Immendorff. Furthermore, artworks by the former Moritz Boys from Berlin will also be shown: Salomé at Henze & Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern (Hall 3), Rainer Fetting at Thomas Fuchs, Stuttgart (Hall 2), and Bernd Zimmer at Rother Winter, Wiesbaden (Hall 2), and Fetzer, Sontheim (Hall 3). Reitz from Cologne (Hall 2) is expected to display works by Elvira Bach and Stefan Szczesny; and Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe (Hall 2), also wants to show 2 pictures by Miriam Cahn, who recently participated in the documenta exhibitions in Athens and Kassel. Also from America: Julian Schnabel, whose works will be displayed by Circle Culture Art from Berlin (Hall 1).
Art historical background:
In the 1970s, when many bare-bones, minimalistic positions generated a great hunger in the contemporary art world for colourful, cheerful and also sassy paintings, the crowning moment arrived for young artists and daring gallerists who produced and exhibited these wild and tumultuous paintings. Within just a few months after the end of 1979, “speed painters” such as Salomé in Berlin or Jiri Georg Dokoupil in Cologne enjoyed such extraordinary success that they could scarcely satisfy the daily increasing demand. The Mülheimer Freiheit sestet was active in the Rhineland, while the Moritz Boys quartet worked in Berlin. Within a few years’ time, they became ubiquitously present, also in many museums, with their often (allegedly) negligently painted pictures, which referenced topical themes such as divided Germany or the thrills of the punk movement. They undoubtedly benefited formally from Expressionism, which had been invented 70 years earlier.
Marion Eichmann 13 Stühle 2017, Collage, Papierschnitte, 150 x 215 cm courtesy Galerie tammen & Partner
Established Contemporary Art
Certain great names belong to the canon of art, which documents the present day and simultaneously stimulates the next generation of artists. Year after year, art KARLSRUHE covers a wide spectrum. For example, American artists such as Christo (Nothelfer, Berlin, and Charron, Paris, both in Hall 2) and Damien Hirst (Koch, Hannover, nd Luzán, Berlin, both in Hall 3) will participate in 2018. Stars from the German-speaking region will again be amply represented as well, e.g. Hermann Nitsch (Hilger, Vienna, Hall 2, Immaginaria Arti Visive Gallery, Florence, Hall 3) and Arnulf Rainer (St. Gertrude, Hamburg, Hall 3) from Austria. Gerhard Richter numbers among the participating artists from Germany: half a dozen gallerists will display his work at the fair this year. As everywhere, here too the transitions are fluent. Some rising stars, whose work has been repeatedly taken into consideration by art KARLSRUHE, return this year with their newest creations: these up-and-coming women artists include, to name only two of many possible examples, Marion Eichmann with her cut-paper artworks and Anke Eilergerhard, who creates objects from drops of silicon (at Werner Tammen, Berlin, Hall 3).
Art historical background:
Art history reveals itself in all its facets at this year’s fair thanks to the list of artists represented at art KARLSRUHE in 2018, which also presents works by recently deceased painters and sculptors such as Gotthard Graubner, Sigmar Polke and Dieter Roth. In some instances, however, individual styles such as Action Art, the Happening and Fluxus scene, or Land Art are represented here only as excerpts from a much wider spectrum. Thanks to the programme of guided tours available at art KARLSRUHE 2018, visitors who so desire can also include these positions in their art reception.
Stefan Strumbel, ohne Titel 2017, aluminium, 162 x 80 x 70 cm Courtesy of the artist and Circle Culture
A highly concentrated sample of the latest art will again await discovery in Hall 4, the dm-arena, in 2018. Many gallerists choose to wait until shortly before the start of the fair before they take these artworks out of the ateliers and exhibit them at the fair, where these new creations surely promise many surprises, especially because some of these next-generation artists have only recently graduated from academies or universities. Collectors can accordingly purchase their works at attractively affordable prices. The extensive assortment includes everything from figurative sculptures to constructive paintings. A noteworthy and increasingly frequent phenomenon is that artists who had previously been active in urban spaces are now penetrating into galleries, private collections and museums, where they leave behind their graffiti or sculptural interventions, some of which they had already prepared at home and afterwards installed in these venues under cover of darkness. This type of art in public space, to which an entire museum in Berlin is dedicated, has had a home at art KARLSRUHE for many years. Two of this phenomenon’s best-known artists will be represented at the fair in 2018: Thomas Baumgärtel at DavisKlemm Gallery, Wiesbaden (Hall 2), and Stefan Strumbel at Circle Culture Art, Berlin (Hall 1).
Art historical background:
It is by no means coincidental that the director general of the Völklingen Ironworks, Meinrad Maria Grewenig, a quintessential specialist for Urban Art, likes to recall that this art style and Hip Hop share a common context. He talks about an attitude toward life – and anyone who has ever met artists such as Thomas Baumgärtel or Stefan Strumbel in person can immediately comprehend his statement. Urban Art makes people vibrate. It energizes the spaces, either outdoors or indoors, wherever it springs up. Urban Art – perhaps the art of the future.