The artist Karin Kneffel, the Romanist Barbara Vinken and the art historians Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy and Julia Voss take an unfamiliar look at the Franz Marc Museum collection and, through unusual impulses, enable new perspectives to be gained on supposedly well-known works by the Blauer Reiter (Blue Rider) and Brücke (Bridge) artists.
“Can anything new be said about German Expressionism?” Michael Kumpfmüller in his essay On the Happiness of Seeing and the Work that Comes with it.
In a museum collection, the core of which is devoted to the works of the Blauer Reiter and Brücke artists, this question crops up with every exhibition and every new presentation of the collection. What approach should be taken that addresses new questions in the field of research and opens up new perspectives for museum visitors?
Today, it is hard to conceive that these works provoked scandals at the time they were created and that Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky had to fight to find a publisher and to fund the Blauer Reiter almanac. Taking a more in-depth look at the ideas represented in this important manifesto of modernism – the precedence of spiritual over material values, the criticism of an academic and Eurocentric bias, the search for the origin of things – ideas can be found that united the international avant-garde in its fundamental critique of society: it was about breaking up long-established and accepted hierarchies, about the relationship between man and woman, about the desire for a ‘natural’ way of life in a world increasingly dominated by industrialisation and technology.
The exhibition Through Other Eyes attempts to open up new perspectives by taking an unconventional approach. Four curators have been invited to highlight aspects of the collection at the Franz Marc Museum that they are currently addressing in their own academic and artistic work. This is not to be seen from a classical art-historical perspective but is rather a view ‘from the outside’.
The artist Karin Kneffel combines pictures from her series ‘Face of a woman, head of a child’ with mother-and-child depictions from the Expressionist period, namely paintings and sculptures by Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Paula Moderson-Becker, Max Beckmann, Franz Marc and Otto Müller.
The Romanist and gender and fashion researcher Barbara Vinken comments on works by Else Lasker-Schüler, Otto Dix, Alexej von Jawlensky and others, seen in the light of her current publications on the subversive character of fashion since the French Revolution.
The art historian Julia Voss, an expert on the work of Hilma af Klint, juxtaposes watercolours by the artist with paintings by Wassily Kandinsky. Both were pioneers on the path to abstract, painting at the same time, around 1910 – without ever meeting each other.
Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, the director of the Franz Marc Museum, contributes a chapter on the spirituality of plants. At the centre is a work by Wolfgang Laib (Pollenberg / Pollen Mountain) that faces a painting by Paul Klee) Wachstum der Nachtpflanzen / Growth of night plants). These works, like Leiko Ikemura’s calligraphic tree pictures or Peter Handke’s notes on nature, highlight a perceptive view of plants, fully aware of their spiritual power.
As self-contained thematically-conceived rooms these micro-exhibitions are integrated in the general presentation of the permanent collection and break up a more conventional tour of the museum, presenting visitors with unexpected points of view and perspectives. Instead of one large exhibition with numerous loans, the aim is to gain new insights into how things can be seen ‘from the outside’ while generating unfamiliar impulses.
Artists: Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Peter Handke, Leiko Ikemura, Alexej von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinskys, Paul Klee, Hilma af Klint, Karin Kneffel, Wolfgang Laib, Else Lasker-Schüler, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Franz Marc, Paula Moderson-Becker, Otto Müller
Curators: Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, Karin Kneffel, Barbara Vinken, Julia Voss
Franz Marc Museum
Franz Marc Park 8-10
82431 Kochel a. See
Contact: info @franz-marc-museum.de