Yesterday I went to see the art exhibit Hunting down the avant garde. Forbidden art in the Third Reich @ the ICC. It was a pretty impressive display with illustrations, paintings and sculptures. Here’s a couple of helpful links to understand the context:
One of the most intense sections of the display is a big photo of the Reich with Hitler looking at some modernist sculptures. In the photo (which is wall sized) you see Rudolf Belling’s Female Head (1925) among other sculptures and then you see it in front of you in real life. It’s truly a gorgeous sculpture to begin with, but somehow seeing it in a very strange historical context adds weight. Apparently, right behind this wall, there is old documentation film of spectators going to this exhibit, but somehow I missed it. Here’s some images of it I found online.
The fact that the Reich showed this degenerate art to prove some kind of point is curious. It was probably confusing at the time whether you were actually supposed to go, or not.
I loved Karl Rabus’ linoleum and wood cuts made into prints. Alloys Ludwig Wach’s woodcuts were also interesting (see both below). Something about this Street with Houses a lithograph by Fritz Bernhard Stuckenberg struck me. I think it’s because when I imaging a place I usually imagine it in bird’s eye view and this sketch is something between that and land view. The geometric shapes a piling on top of each other, but through repetition there exists a really nice balance in the composition. It’s exact and messy at the same time.
I took some photos before I learned that I wasn’t supposed to.
Otto Freundlich’s piece made me think of my sister Olivia’s paintings. Her color selection can be similar to his and she works with abstract shapes.
I particularly loved this image by Rabus.
This Wach piece is really heavy, and I would say there were definitely pieces that struck me emotionally. At that point I couldn’t take pictures anymore, but Lea Grundig’s images were some of those and I found a few online.
I have a mild obsession with wolves and I thought Hans Grundig’s Evening Song was striking. He was married to Lea Grundig. If curious, this blog has has some info on them.
I don’t usually read all the bios of artists in an exhibit, but at this exhibit I did. My perception of the war changed in a way that I can’t really explain in words. The fact that all of these artist’s works are shown in one space again takes on another meaning. Something sublime.