Tuesday 15 January 2019

Review of Painter. Mentor. Magician. Otto Mueller and his Network in Wrocław at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

Painter. Mentor. Magician. Otto Mueller and his Network in Wrocław
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
12 October 2018 – 3 March 2019 
Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu
8 April – 30 June 2019

Otto Mueller was born in 1874 in Silesia – then a part of Germany, now a part of Poland. From 1907 to 1919, he lived in Berlin, where, from 1910 until its dissolution in 1913, he was a member of the group of expressionist artists known as Die Brücke. In 1919, Mueller moved to Wrocław (then Breslau), where he taught at the State Academy of Fine Arts and Crafts – deemed to be “the liveliest in Germany” in the 1920s – for more than a decade, until his death in 1930. This exhibition, which shows first at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin before travelling to the Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu, is the outcome of a German-Polish research project, and explores the life and work of Mueller, considering him in the roles of painter, mentor and magician, but it simultaneously celebrates the lively exchange between the two cities up to the end of the second world war – and, indeed, beyond. This is done in part through the contextualising of Mueller’s work alongside that of his contemporaries – from the Bauhaus, der Sturm, and the myriad other movements and schools thriving in the early 1900s – but also by the inclusion of so-called “guest exhibits”, spotlighting works of Polish expressionism and neo-impressionism.

Read the full review here

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Interview: Elmgreen & Dragset

Interview with Elmgreen & Dragset 

Since unveiling a decaying public swimming pool as part of their major overview exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery back in September, Elmgreen & Dragset – the Berlin-based, Scandi artistic duo comprising Michael Elmgreen (b1961, Copenhagen) and Ingar Dragset (b1969, Trondheim) – have been the talk of the town. Their often parodic and playful work, of course, was already familiar to Londoners and tourists alike (even if the artists’ names remained unknown), as their 4.1-metre golden sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse, Powerless Structures, Fig 101, had regally crowned Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth for 18 months from February 2012 – throughout the London Olympic Games – attracting largely positive responses, including from British actress Joanna Lumley, who unveiled the piece, describing herself as ‘thrilled’ to be revealing such a ‘completely unthreatening and adorable creature’ to the public.

Read the full interview here

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Review of Klimt/Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

Klimt/Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna
Royal Academy of Arts, London
4 November 2018 – 3 February 2019

The year 2018 marked the centenary of the deaths of two of Austria’s best-known and best-loved modernist artists – Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and Egon Schiele (1890-1918). Although Klimt never formally taught Schiele, the younger man was widely thought of as his protégé, and, by the time of Klimt’s death from pneumonia, following a stroke, in February 1918, Schiele was acknowledged as his successor. Tragically, he, too, was to die, eight months later, in the flu pandemic. Although both artists left behind a great number of paintings, the core of each of their practices was drawing, which constituted a fundamental daily activity for them. Klimt left more than 4,000 drawings – most devoted to women; Schiele, in his short life, created 3,000 drawings and watercolours. The Graphic Art Collection of the Albertina Museum in Vienna, founded in 1776 by Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen, holds a large number of works on paper by both men, and, for this centennial collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts – one of many international anniversary exhibitions – 100 drawings have travelled to London, where they are displayed in largely chronological thematic rooms, interweaving the stories and progress of each artist.

Read the full review here