With the exhibition “Marcel Odenbach. So oder so”, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen presents a comprehensive overview of a multi-faceted oeuvre that looks back on forty-five years of contemporaneity. Marcel Odenbach’s cinematic collages, installations, and performances have contributed to making video art a key medium of international contemporary art. Parallel to this, Odenbach created an extensive body of works on paper over the course of more than four decades. With a selection of roughly sixty video works and works on paper, the exhibition at K21 sheds light on how Odenbach always views art and culture from a socio-political perspective and at the same time relies on the sensual-aesthetic strength of images.
Marcel Odenbach (b. 1953), who lives in Cologne, Berlin, and periodically in Biriwa, Ghana, has been working with video since 1976. His artistic approach is driven by a strong awareness of the historical-social and transcultural topics of the time. Using the means of collage and montage and always in connection with his own biography, Odenbach works on politically and culturally relevant issues in the media of video and paper. Odenbach reflects on the image politics of RAF terrorism, deals with the repression of the Nazi era and the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and questions clichés of the foreign and exotic. In his works, he illuminates the impact and after-effects of European colonialism in Africa.
With his characteristic balance of subjective perspective, objectifiable interest in historical-documentary material, and a fascination for the subtle effect of images, Oden-bach is one of the most internationally acclaimed artists of his generation.
“So oder so” (One way or another), the subtitle Marcel Odenbach has given his exhibition at K21, quotes the last stanza of a famous poem by Thomas Brasch from 1971 and aptly captures the retrospective character of the exhibition of a decidedly open work:
He who writes remains
Here or away or where
He who writes drifts
One way or another”
In November 2021, Marcel Odenbach will be awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize. From November 17, 2021 until February 20, 2022 Odenbach’s “Schnittvorlagen” will be exhibited at Museum Ludwig for the first time.