Exhibition Preview: Programme 2019

This years highlights range from a big solo exhibition of the chinese Artist Ai Weiwei, a new perspective from the norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård on Edvard Munch as well as works and electronic live concerts by Carsten Nicolai. Please find the detailed programme attached below.

[Translate to English:] Ai Weiwei © Ai Weiwei Studio



Preview 2019: Exhibitions and Projects at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen


Ai Weiwei

18.5. – 1.9. 2019
K20 / K21

“Everything is art. Everything is politics”: with these words, the internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Ai Weiwei encapsulates the basic principle of his working approach. This motto is also the leitmotif of his largest exhibition in Europe to date, which will be on view simultaneously at the K20 and the K21 of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein- Westfalen.

Large-scale works and extensive image wallpaper transform the museum galleries into dense, accessible installations. The close interlocking of political engagement with artistic activity in the oeuvre of this important and disputatious artist allows the contradictions of the present day to become tangible.

Ai Weiwei, who was born in Beijing in 1957, is celebrated worldwide as an artist, architect, curator, film director and photographer. Impressions of Conceptual and Pop Art gathered during his time in New York during the 1980s proved fruitful for his working methods, which aim toward a critical examination of cultural history and developments in global society.


Beste Freunde
50 Jahre Freundeskreis der Kunstsammlung

5.6. – 7.7.2019

Since 1969, the Gesellschaft der Freunde (Association of Friends) of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen e. V. has been an invaluable and reliable supporter of the museum. Through purchases, the Freundeskreis has expanded the collection, and has assisted with the financing of exhibitions. By covering the greater portion of the building costs, the Freundeskreis has made possible extension structures such as the Klee Halle and the Henkel Galerie, of such enormous importance to the Kunstsammlung. For a half century now, the museum and the Freundeskreis have been “Best Friends.” We celebrate this partnership now by presenting major acquisitions made by the Freundeskreis, including works by Amedeo Modigliani, Max Ernst and Francis Bacon, by Ad Reinhard, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin, by Gerhard Richter and Günther Uecker, by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Thomas Struth, and many others.

Edvard Munch seen by Karl Ove Knausgård

12.10.2019 – 1.3.2020

Karl Ove Knausgård is among the most acclaimed and important living Norwegian authors. His six-volume autobiographical novel is one of the most-discussed books of recent years worldwide. Now, Knausgård has turned his attention toward the work of the painter Edvard Munch. With his astonishing selection of rarely or never-exhibited works, the eminent author has discovered a hitherto ‘unknown’ Munch. This exhibition will be on view at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen parallel to the Frankfurter Buchmesse, at which Norway will be presented as the Guest of Honour in 2019.

Knausgård – who was also trained in art history – has selected approximately 130 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures from the archive and storage facilities of the Munch Museum in Oslo and supplemented with loans from international museums. He opens up an unfamiliar perspective of a man who is arguably the most celebrated Scandinavian avant-garde artist of the early 20th century.

“Edvard Munch seen by Karl Ove Knausgård” is an exhibition of the Munch Museum in Oslo in collaboration with the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf.


Planet 58.
Absolvent_innen der Kunstakademie Düsseldorf 2018

8.2. – 31.3.2019

The exhibition “Planet 58” features new works by graduates of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Art Academy). All of the participating artists concluded their studies at the renowned art academy in 2018, and each presents between one and three works in the museum.

The show, which occupies the entire exhibition space in the basement level of the K21, follows no thematic principle, instead displaying nearly 60 artistic contributions in their entire breadth and variety. On view alongside numerous paintings are sculptures, installations, photographs, graphic works, videos, and performances. Never before has the K21 opened up its spaces to young artists on this scale.

This project inaugurates a cooperation between the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein- Westfalen and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf: parallel to the annual Rundgang (walking tour) of the Art Academy, the Kunstsammlung in the K21 showcases an exhibition of works by Academy graduates from the previous year. Through this ongoing, annual exhibition series, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen will provide young artists from the Academy with a platform, at the same time offering the public insights into current artistic developments in Düsseldorf.

Ed Atkins. Ye Olde Food

23.2. – 16.6.2019
K21 Bel Etage

The British artist Ed Atkins (*1982, Oxford) is considered as a pioneer among a younger generation of artists whose members reflect upon the far-reaching transformations of everyday reality effected by the rapid development of digital media. Atkins became known in particular for a series of computer-animated videos through which he interrogates the promise, potential, and ideologies of the technologies he employs.

A crucial point of departure for his projects is the capacity of digital image production to reproduce the material world realistically in a radically dematerialized fashion. On the one hand, the motion capture animated protagonists of his videos manifest a total artificiality, while on the other suggesting a disconcerting degree of lifelikeness: they are brought to the point of tears, look into our eyes, or address us verbally. Atkins investigates the impact of virtual worlds on the physically palpable reality of the beholder, impelling us to ponder the status of emotionality and corporeality in an increasingly digitalized world, along with the possibilities and limits of language.

In his solo exhibition at the K21, he presents current video and textual works which have been acquired for the collection, restaging them together with additional works in the spaces of the Bel Etage.  



Banu Cenneto?lu

6.7. – 10.11.2019
K21 Bel Etage

At the center of the exhibition by Banu Cenneto?lu at the K21 is a moving image work that presents her complete image-based archive from 10 June 2006 to 21 March 2018. The unedited stream of content, presented chronologically over a period of time of 128 hours and 22 minutes, shows the artist’s personal experiences intertwined with events that have become elements of public memory.

In her artistic practice, Banu Cenneto?lu is engaged with the formation, circulation and preservation of information as knowledge and the underlying political, social, and cultural mechanisms. Using methods of archiving and classification, Cenneto?lu investigates the ways in which moments in history are recorded, and become part of a collective historical consciousness. Her cross-disciplinary approach makes use of images, texts and printed matter, such as conventional newspaper, in order to create object and images based installations.

After studies in psychology and photography in Istanbul and Paris, Cenneto?lu lived in New York and spent one year at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam before returning to Turkey in 2006. There she founded the non-commercial project space BAS, which is devoted to collecting, and archiving, as well as exhibiting artist’s books. In 2016, Cenneto?lu was a guest at the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program, and in 2017, she participated in Documenta 14.

Curator: Anna Goetz

Carsten Nicolai.Parallax Symmetry

28.9.2019 – 19.1.2020

In autumn, the K21 will be showing a survey exhibition devoted to the artist and musician Carsten Nicolai (born in 1965, lives and works in Berlin). Since the early 1990s, Nicolai has worked along the interface between visual art, music, and the natural sciences. With electronic sound and light material, he generates minimalist installations, sound performances, and presentations of physical phenomenon that reflect upon the systems and structures of a mediatized world.

As a musician, Nicolai has become one of the most recognized representatives of contemporary electronic music under the pseudonym Alva Noto. Since his participation in documenta X (1997) and the Venice Biennales of 2001 and 2003, he has exhibited worldwide as a visual artist. Taking place on the piazza of the K21 to accompany Nicolai’s exhibition in the lower level will be a series of electronic live concerts and performances.