Art et Liberté

Mayo, Portrait, 1937, oil on canvas, 46 × 36 cm, European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Greece, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Rupture, War and Surrealism
in Egypt (1938 – 1948)

15 July – 15 October 2017
K20 Grabbeplatz

This is the first comprehensive museum exhibition about the largely forgotten Cairo based group Art et Liberté ("art and liberty", "jama’at al-fann wa al-hurriyyah"). The exhibition presents more than 200 works from around 50 collections in 12 different countries, including paintings, works on paper, prints, photographs, films, books, and archival documents. At the dawn of World War II and during Egypt's colonial rule by the British Empire the surrealist collective of artists and writers was engaged in its defiance of Fascism, Nationalism and Colonialism.


Tomás Saraceno

Installation "Tomás Saraceno - in orbit", K21 Ständehaus, photo: Studio Saraceno, © Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno - in orbit

from 25 March 2017
K21 Ständehaus

Suspended more than 25 meters above the piazza of the K21 is Tomás Saraceno‘s gigantic installation in orbit. This steel wire construction spans the museum‘s vast glass cupola on three different levels. Positioned within this net structure, which encompasses altogether 2500 m², are half a dozen „spheres“ – inflated spheres having diameters up to 8.5 meters. Visitors have access to this transparent installation, and can move freely between the spheres on all three levels.


real sets / fictional sets

Candida Höfer, Schmelahaus Düsseldorf I, 2011, photography, 180 x 226,3 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, donaation of the artist to the, Gesellschaft der Freunde der Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V. 2017, Courtesy, © Candida Höfer, Köln / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Videos and Photographs

Selected Works from the Permanent Collection

02 August – 08 October, 2017
K21 Ständehaus

In the basement level of the K21, real sets / fictional sets features videos and photographs from the permanent collection that take the stage/film set as the point of departure for the most diverse scenarized spatial arrangements, an approach that offers fields of play for a variety of scenes, plots, and narratives. On view will be works by Bruce Nauman, William Kentridge, Rosemarie Trockel, Richard T. Walker, Heimo Zobernig, and Wael Shawky, supplemented by a selection of photographs by Candida Höfer.


Artist's Rooms

Alexandra Bircken, Parallelgesellschaften, 2016, Courtesy Alexandra Bircken, BQ, Berlin & Herald St., London, Foto: Achim Kukulies

K21 Artist's Rooms

1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018
K21 Ständehaus

The K21 Ständehaus is a very special venue for young international artists and for the contemporary portions of the permanent collection. Traversing three levels, 22 rooms offer visitors intensive encounters with painting, sculpture, photography, film, and in particular with spatially-oriented art. Selected contemporary artists are invited to display works for a period of one year, thereby engaging in dialogue  with other works in the collection. The result is a succession of varied spatial impressions that are representative of the richness and density of contemporary art, and which inspire the senses and challenge our perceptions in perpetually fresh ways.


Leunora Salihu

Leunora Salihu, GRAVITY ON A JOURNEY, 2017, Installation view at K21 Ständehaus, photo: Achim Kukulies

Leunora Salihu
Gravity on a journey

31 March – 24 September 2017 (extended)
K21 Ständehaus, Bel Etage

Although Leunora Salihu's sculptures have an austere composition, they are light and permeable. The artists, who was born in 1977 in Prishtina (Kosovo), creates her works from a multitude of materials, like clay, plaster, metal and multiplex boards, playing with their contrasting characteristics to assemble new, extraordinary combinations.


»Open for Construction«

Installation view: Achim Kukulies

The Renegotiation of an Art Collection

January 2017 – August 2018
K20 Grabbeplatz, Labor

The »Open for Construction« project lets visitors and people interested in the museum engage with modernist artworks and explore the art historical canon. As focus groups, they can work within the exhibition architecture especially designed for this purpose and develop their own ways of accessing the works they have selected from the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen’s collection and from outside the Western canon. A series of workshops provides them with the opportunity to study and comment on artistic content as well as forms of presentation and mediation. In the end, they present their perspectives to the museum and the public in the form of an exhibition promoting further discussion.