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    Photographs from People of the 20th Century 

An exhibition of Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg, in collaboration with Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne


April 11 - June 15, 2017 - extended until June 25, 2017

Opening: Sunday, April 9, 2017


August Sander: Young Farmers, 1914; Bourgeois Children, 1925; Circus artist, 1926-32 © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv, Köln; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2017

August Sander is hailed as a major pioneer of what was at his time a new movement in the evolving medium of photography – a movement that still lives on today under the banner of factual documentary and conceptual photography. Born in 1876 in Herdorf (Siegerland), August Sander became renowned for the photographic work People of the 20th Century, realized around 1924, in which he put together hundreds of portraits of people from different levels of society and occupational groups in a series of portfolios developed in a project spanning decades. Parts of that work were shown for the first time in an exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in 1927 and published in Sander's first book, Antlitz der Zeit (Face of Our Time), in 1929. In that book of 60 portrait photographs, Sander succeeded in creating a portrait of contemporary society that highlighted both human individuality and the typical traits of social and occupational groups as well as examining the reciprocal influence of man and society. Comparative photography and direct observation are expressions that aptly describe Sander's methodological approach. With more than 100 photographs – some of them on show for the first time – the exhibition provides a representative insight of People of the 20th Century which became a standard work in the history of art and photography.


Text: Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne





    HORST BARTNIG concrete:interruptions

February 21 - May 7, 2017

Opening: February 19, 2017, 3 pm


Horst Bartnig: 280 interruptions in white, stripes in black, 280 interruptions in black, stripes in white, 2010, acrylic on canva, 200 x 800 cm


Only two structural principles allow Horst Bartnig (born 1936 in Militsch/Silesia) to expand his painting into a cosmos of barely unimaginable variety: the variations and the interruptions developed from the former. Whereas it is geometry - to which our perception tries to find the key and is in that way drawn into the aesthetics of its clear changes of colour and its geometrical order - that counts in the single picture, it is exactly the other way round when encountering several pictures: The system that is easy to mutually explain itself multiplies its visual possibilities into the vast. In painting, colour perception can hardly be more sharpened, rhythm hardly be applied in a more structured way, aleatory hardly stem from more unpredictable ground. Although all pictures by Horst Bartnig derive from strictly regularly abstract principles of design and their action patterns his paintings are sensual showers for the eyes that make us blink.


Horst Bartnig: interruptions 5 in groups of nine, 2013


Horst Bartnig is an artistic exception. Not only has he developed and represented his practice following mathematical systems in complete autonomy, also today his work proves how geometrical basics, put into system and play – ignoring all trends and developments in art – do not leave any longing for vivid freshness unfulfilled. Bartnig learned stage design at the School for Applied Arts in Magdeburg in the 1950ies, worked for the stage in Berlin for many years and has developed his artistic position of concrete painting from the 1960ies on. His experiments in computer art and the systematics of his colour-geometrical painting have been unique in the former GDR.

The exhibition presents an overall installation of paintings and drawings of interruptions. A catalogue will be published on the occasion of the exhibition.




     Peter Herrmann: 
     Painter's Greetings from Berlin

Oct 31, 2016 - Mar 12, 2017 extended until April 17, 2017

Opening: Sunday, Oct 30, 2016, at 3 pm


Peter Herrmann: Russian Green, 2016, oil on canvas


"Painting is my only language" – there are artists to whom this statement candidly applies. Among them is the painter Herrmann, born in Großschönau, Saxony, in 1937, who spent many years in Dresden and now lives in Berlin. For the first time in a long time, the exhibition shows a large amount of large-format paintings from after 2000 as well as drawings from the last decades.


Peter Herrmann draws figures, urban scenes and everyday occurrences, approaches in that the young Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Henri Rousseau, appears to be playful just as the “young savages” and still remains completely independent. Because he admires painting he is so serious about it himself. With a rare ease, his paintings manage to involve very different events and times into the present. Thereby, longing to be modern is not the artist’s paramount idea – the light of Piero della Francesca’s colours and the mysterious shadows of the paintings by Arnold Böcklin would deny that to him – however, the texture of his paintings allows them to be current and timeless. They are often described as dream images. “I have only started to artistically free myself. I don’t know if I will ever become abstract”, Peter Herrmann said in 2001 when he was awarded the Fred Thieler Prize that is awarded to painters, “whose artistic development has not yet been completed”. Peter Herrmann does not defend himself against this. “The process goes on and on” – he said then and this still holds true today.



      JOHN SMITH Dad's Stick

 in the media lounge from February 8 to March 26, 2017


John Smith: Dad's Stick, 2012, HD video, 5 min (still)


The video by John Smith (born 1962 in London) takes us on a journey in to the past that centers around the artist’s father. It is about memory and about what it adheres to. We learn that his father had a favour for certain colours that he painted with. The film successively shows his favourite colours and the inserted text tells us that his preferences changed over the years. The first impression of being confronted with an abstract painter is unexpectedly questioned when John Smith shows us the wooden stick that his father had used all these years to stir up the paint for the walls in his flat. Like the annual rings of a tree the different layers of paint cover this stick as a chronology of the changing wall colours in the flat in which John Smith grew up.

How similarly unclear words or pictures describe a certain object is the subject that can be found in all of Smith’s videos. The artist always builds the bridge towards the similarly fragile relationship between film and reality that is shown by the former. Every new layer covers all times that lie below it just like film transfers everything into construction and therefore also into fiction. In the course of the video the cut-open layers of paint around the stick uncover the personal memory that delivers us the subtle description of the character of a person with fixed norms and a strong fundamental understanding of the social. In that way, the film tbecomes a loving description of a person by penetrating the layers of paint until the very first one like separate glimpses into the past.

In 2003, John Smith had his first museum exhibition at Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen Magdeburg.