Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Contemporary Art: A Visit @ "Hamburger Bahnhof", Museum Für Gegenwart, Berlin

(Drivebycuriosity) - It seems Berlin is a mecca for contemporary art. Germany´s capital has at least 2 huge museums which display art works created since 1960. Last week I reported about the exhibition "Ausweitung der Kampfzone/Expansion of the Combat Zone" @ Neue Nationalgalerie (driveby). Today I am recording my impressions from a visit at the museum "Hamburger Bahnhof" (wikipedia).

The name refers to the building’s original function as one of the first terminal stations of the rail system in Germany (smb.museum). It opened as the terminus of the railway line between Hamburg and Berlin in 1846. Later the place became a museum of transport and construction. 1996 the "Hamburger Bahnhof" reopened as a museum of contemporary art, the "Museum für Gegenwart".

As is so often the case, you can find a lot of provoking and entertaining work, some of them  with a political connotation. You can see there some works by Andy Warhol, of course. This iconic artist employed a lot of busy technicians, his famous "Factory" which produced tons of art work which is now spreaded all over the world.

                                                           Mao, The Rock Star?

(Andy Warhol: "Mao", "Double Elvis","Hammer & Sickle", "Knives", "Diamond Dust Shoes")

I find the Warhol displays I saw at the "Bahnhof" entertaining and enjoyed viewing them. But - his huge Mao portrait raises the question: How come a dictator and murderer of millions of people still has the status as a pop icon? Maybe his victims don´t have a powerful lobby?

And Warhol´s (or his technician´s?) photo "Ambulance Crash" leaves some aftertaste. Why is a fatal crash of an emergency car and the drastic image a worthy piece of art? Did the Maestro think this is a funny coincidence?


                                          Explaining Paintings To A Dead Rabbit?

I was unreservedly fascinated by 2 works of Anselm Kiefer:
 "Wege der Weltweisheit:die Hermannsschlacht/Ways of Worldly Wisdom: Armenius`Battle". The message is ironically: Sooner or later these ways lead into fire (War, Holocaust). The name of the work refers to the legend of Arminius, The German folk hero, who led the Germanic tribes to victory over the Romans in the year 9 A.D. The painting features portraits of figures of German history like the philosophers Immanuel Kant & Martin Heidegger and the steel industrialist Alfred Krupp.

"Lilith am Roten Meer/Lilith at the Red Sea" (lead, clothes, steel wire and ash) is Kiefer`s reflection about the holocaust. The name refers to Lilith, a Jewish mythological figure.

I also was in awe of a large format triptych by Cy Twombly: "Thyrsis". The name refers to ancient Greek poetry.  Even that the painting is no Vermeer; I admired the sheer size combined with elegance.

(Robert Rauschenberg: "Booster", "Untitled","Sky Garden", "Mule Deer"

Worth seeing are also the late works of Robert Rauschenberg that you can find there.

(Joseph Beuys: "Das Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts/The End of the 20th Century)

A collection of contemporary art - especially a German one -  wouldn´t be complete if it would not show some works by Joseph Beuys, who was a very original character. The museum shows also a video with the title "Wie man dem Hasen die Bilder erklärt/How to explain the paintings to a Hare" where the artist is confronting a dead rabbit with some art works - for the delectation of his audience.

But let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment