Opening the Space

Works from the Collection in Light of Current Issues

Mar 27, 2021 — Aug 22, 2021

  • Opening the Space. Works from the Collection in Light of Current Issues, Installation view, © Photo: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf
  • Opening the Space. Works from the Collection in Light of Current Issues, Installation view, © Photo: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf
  • Opening the Space. Works from the Collection in Light of Current Issues, Installation view, © Photo: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf
  • Opening the Space. Works from the Collection in Light of Current Issues, Installation view, © Photo: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf

Nature and landscape have always been beheld, approached, and negotiated as objects in art. Artists are defined by the scientific and sociopolitical discussions and discourses of their time. Leading up to the project OPEN SPACE. Nothing but the Future (Nov 13, 2021 – Feb 13, 2022), which will explore the consequences of human intervention in all aspects of life on Earth, the exhibition establishes a thematic link to the Museum’s collection.

The works shown illustrate how the city, landscape, and nature have been regarded at different times, and how artists approach nature: as a part of it, as observers, or as “others” or counterparts. While some works show forms of coexistence, others reveal destructive human interventions in nature – but there are also those that inspire us to treat nature with more respect.

We regard the Museum’s collection as an active resource available to society that can be activated to inspire and contribute to discussions about current issues. For this reason, we have asked various experts to provide brief statements about the challenges of our time to accompany the works. The interplay between their words and the artworks opens new perspectives and possible interpretations. All works are from the Museum’s collection, with the exception of the video The Scene of Crime by the Indian artist Amar Kanwar.

The collection is the product of a historical development and hence of a certain zeitgeist. This means that, despite its visual power, it has some blind spots. From today’s perspective, for example women artists and artists from the global South are underrepresented. This is why, for several years now, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen has been pursuing its goal of reflecting on and gradually changing this situation.

Artists: Joseph Beuys, Pierre Bonnard, Alice Creischer/Andreas Siekmann, Simon Denny, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Nan Hoover, Amar Kanwar, Paul Klee, Richard Long, Scott McFarland, Simone Nieweg, Thomas Ruff, Gerry Schum, Thomas Struth, Yves Tanguy, Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Authors: Lorena Jaume-Palasí, Amar Kanwar, Tonny Nowshin, raumlaborberlin, Thomas Struth, Friedrich von Borries, Andreas Weber

Curators: Kathrin Beßen, Julia Hagenberg, Maria Müller-Schareck

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