WE NEVER SLEEP
This exhibition will haunt you for a long time: The fascination of espionage is always a source of artistic inspiration. As glamorously as spies are presented in popular culture, their information obtained in covert actions is socially explosive. The exhibition "We Never Sleep" sheds light on the subject through the prism of contemporary art - from the early 20th century to the Cold War and today's media surveillance. "We Never Sleep" thus raises questions that today seem more virulent than ever. The catalog explores a variety of perspectives on the subject of espionage that complement the exhibition. The essays provide insights into the entanglements of art and politics during the Cold War, uncover cinematic espionage techniques, deal with the militarization of U.S. culture from a personal perspective, and analyze the (aesthetic) structures and practices of agency.
TIP Sometimes works by the artists Gabriel Lester, Simon Menner, and Noam Toran developed especially for the project, as well as articles already published in various media, transform the catalog into a unique collection of complex resources on the subject of espionage.
EITHER HE'S DEAD OR MY WATCH HAS STOPPED
HAERIZADEH, HAERIZADEH, RAHMANIAN
Exuberant, humorous, eccentric and full of allusions: The expansive installations of the Iranian artists' collective Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian carry us off into a world of their own. The Schirn now presents the trio's first solo exhibition in Germany. Their work repeatedly revolves around the crises of the Middle East, war, exile and migration. With melancholy poetry and biting humor, they transform gloomy scenes into caricature-like grotesques that reflect the globalized world. Haerizadeh, Haerizadeh and Rahmanian focus attention on urgent contemporary political and social conflicts and question power mechanisms as well as normative gender roles or the art world. The publication accompanying the exhibition is accordingly exceptionally designed: A cosmos of colors, symbolic references, and large-format illustrations as well as an introductory text by curator Martina Weinhart and an extensive biography of the trio.
TIP The room-filling works are not only visually documented in the catalog in their creation and completion. Texts written by the artists and fellow authors especially for the publication provide insight into the (art) universe of Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian.
RICHARD JACKSON. UNEXPECTED UNEXPLAINED UNACCEPTED
More than any other artist of his day Richard Jackson has focused his attention on the radical expansion of painting. For the first time the Schirn is assembling five of his 12 extensive installations. In his Rooms, comic-like figures, animals or objects become actors involved in a unique process: Air compressors and pumps cause rich colors to flow through tubes and funnels, through ears, mouths and other body orifices and spread them across the floor, walls, furnishings and figures. The publication takes up Jackson’s painterly process and guides the reader through the rooms with their ever-changing perspectives and bright colors. Essays by author Chris Kidd, art historian Christian Janecke and curator Matthias Ulrich place the works by the Californian artist in context and highlight important links with art, politics and history.
TIP Thanks to the detailed texts on the individual rooms and installations as well as the comprehensive photographic documentation, readers can enjoy discovering ever new details and connections to the history of art and current events.
The expansive sculptures by Karla Black are characterized by an ambiguous, fragile beauty. Delicate pastel shades and films, light and reflections lend them a sense of weightlessness. Her large-format works straddle the genres of installation, painting and performance and are intended as standalone sculptures. Black works with classic sculptural materials as well as substances in everyday use and cosmetics – with Vaseline, plaster powder, transparent adhesive tape or lipstick. The texture, “the feel of it”, is crucial in her selection. For the Schirn Rotunda, the Scottish artist developed a new site-specific piece. The publication captures the delicate parts of the installation to striking effect and guides the observer through the artist’s haptic body of work.
TIP An exclusive interview with Karla Black offers an illuminating insight into her way of working and the themes and issues that are central to her work.
HANNAH RYGGEN.GEWEBTE MANIFESTE (WOVEN MANIFESTOS)
With her monumental tapestries the Norwegian-Swedish artist Hannah Ryggen created a powerful, politically inspired oeuvre. Working from a small self-sufficient farm on the west coast of Norway she deployed her work to launch visual attacks on Hitler, Franco and Mussolini and was highly vocal in her support for the victims of Fascism and National Socialism. Now for the first time in Germany the Schirn is presenting the artist’s comprehensive oeuvre in roughly 25 tapestries. The publication provides insights into Ryggen’s compelling and powerful oeuvre that is uncannily contemporary in our times of increasing inequality, nationalism and populism. The essays by Marit Paasche and Marie Luise Knott offer broad insights into Hannah Ryggen’s turbulent life and impressive oeuvre. An exclusive interview by Esther Schlicht with artist Ingar Dragset shows how Ryggen continues to be an important role model today.
TIP A comprehensive chronology and biography delves deep into the world of Hannah Ryggen not only relates some highly personal experiences of an artist, who all her life has supported herself and her family, but also describes several decisive events in world politics that she commented on consistently using a clear visual language.
JOHN M. ARMLEDER
His art combines highbrow culture and the everyday, chance and planning, the profound and the trivial – to produce a unique experience. John M. Armleder has purpose-created new expansive installations specially for SCHIRN. One such work featuring 20 mirror balls in the freely accessible SCHIRN Rotunda produces a veritable hall of mirrors. The core thrust of Armleder’s work is on a rejection of anything specific and predefined and instead a predilection for processes. This fundamental approach is reflected for instance in the title “CA.CA.” of the SCHIRN presentation. John M. Armleder takes viewers on a journey through the art and culture of the 20th and 21st centuries and never tires of questioning existing systems and structures of the art world. The publication helps visualize the exhibition, guiding the reader through this extraordinary show and provides fundamental insights into the artist’s oeuvre in the form of an essay and a detailed biography.
TIP The detailed work views provide a visual guide of Armleder’s expansive and visually diverse works allowing readers to vividly relive the exhibition.
Contemporary music has a sound all of its own – quite literally: musical instruments that are sculptures at the same time represent a still relatively unknown, recent development in contemporary art. In a group exhibition involving artists from all over the world, the SCHIRN is showing artworks that also function as musical instruments. Playing these sculptural works is the key element of this continually changing exhibition. Throughout its duration, the SCHIRN will become a temporary concert hall in which the works are activated and made to produce sound.
The publication accompanying the exhibition also has its own sound. Articles by Irene Noy, Marion Saxer, Matthias Ulrich and Salomé Voegelin offer an extraordinary and nuanced insight into the world of sound: contemporary art sounds like social exchange when other forms of language fail, like new ways of making contact, and like questions of identity and the political potential of art.
A JOURNEY THROUGH MUD AND CONFUSION WITH SMALL GLIMPSES OF AIR
NATHALIE DJURBERG & HANS BERG
For the first time, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting the work of the Swedish artist couple Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg in an extensive survey exhibition in Germany. On display are around 40 video and sound works from the last two decades as well as their first virtual reality work from last year. The encounter with the films of Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg has something of a seduction - they impressively and directly attract the viewer into colorful, suggestive worlds accompanied by hypnotic music. Their films resemble absurd dreams and repressed memories, they atmospherically fathom the limits of what is humanly bearable. Curator Lena Essling, philosopher Patricia MacCormack, musician David Toop and curator Massimiliano Gioni decipher the work of Djurberg's mountain in terms of locations, sound and central themes.
TIP With an abundance of large-format color illustrations and picture series, the catalog provides a multifaceted insight into the complex work of Djurberg Berg.
BRUNO GIRONCOLI: PROTOTYPES FOR A NEW SPECIES
Austrian Bruno Gironcoli (1936–2010) is considered one of the most important sculptors of his generation. With his own personal color scheme and individual pictorial language, from the early 1960s onwards he created a quite unique oeuvre in a never-ending glut of sheer inventiveness. The powerful exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents excerpts from Gironcoli’s monumental later works. As if they had sprung from a surreal dreamworld, the enormous pieces resemble so many “prototypes for a new species”, coated in gleaming, seductive surfaces of gold, silver and copper. The exhibition catalog guides the reader through images of details and complete works among the monumental sculptures of Gironcoli’s theater of the absurd. Furthermore, curator Martina Weinhart highlights Gironcoli’s extensive creativity and the various different influences on his very particular figural language.
TIP With historic archive shots, the catalog permits extraordinary insights into Bruno Gironcoli’s life and work, as well as the Vienna art scene of his time.
IDYL IN AN ELECTRONICS FACTORY
The sculptures and installations by Maria Loboda are enigmatic, not to say full of mystery. Two parallel hedges of Portugal laurel, framed by concrete tubs, stretch up to the first story of the SCHIRN Rotunda and transform the space into a labyrinthine sculpture garden. Organic shapes in concrete protrude from the hedges, together constituting the letter R. “Tout te**iblement” is written on the concrete frames surrounding the plants, a well-known statement by Yves St. Laurent. With the exhibition title “Idyll in an Electronics Factory,” Loboda references a review bearing the same title and published in 1963 in US design magazine “Interiors.” The holistic approach of landscape architect James C. Rose discussed in said article serves as both the starting point and the subject of Loboda’s work. In the form of a concertina fold-out book printed on both sides, the intricately designed exhibition catalog winds its way through Loboda’s Rotunda labyrinth and provides an introduction to her work and biography with an in-depth text.
TIP Publication and artwork in one. Thanks to the special form of the concertina fold-out book, Maria Loboda’s sculpture garden can literally unfold as a visual narrative.
Nowadays, there is pretty well no such thing as unspoiled nature and the blank spaces on the maps have nearly all disappeared. At the same time, our fascination with the phenomenon of “wilderness” in art remains unabated. The SCHIRN is now devoting an extensive themed exhibition to the subject. More than 100 works of art by 34 international artists – from 1900 right up until the present day – will be shown in the exhibition, including pieces by Henri Rousseau, Tacita Dean, Max Ernst, Gerhard Richter and Georgia O’Keeffe, along with many other important positions. The search for those last untouched places, the expedition as an artistic medium and visions of a post-human world characterize the works in the exhibition, as does the renegotiation of the relationship between human and animal. At the same time, the wilderness has always been a space into which artists project their notions of what is different and exotic, their counter-images, longings and fantasies. The lavish catalog illustrates the approaches taken by artists to the phenomenon of wilderness from all kinds of perspectives; it contains impressive illustrations of the works on show.
TIP Alongside the essays, selected statements by the artists as well as historical and literary texts contextualize the works, allowing for profound insights into the development of the term wilderness in the cultural-historical context.
KING OF THE ANIMALS
Wilhelm Kuhnert and the image of africa
Berlin painter Wilhelm Kuhnert was one of the first European artists to travel the then largely unexplored former colony of German East Africa at the beginning of the 20th century. The drawings and oil sketches of the flora and fauna there that he produced on his trips served as the basis for monumental paintings that he then made in his studio after returning to Berlin. Back then, Kuhnert exhibited the works internationally to great acclaim and emerged as the leading interpreter of the African animal kingdom. He shaped the Western notion of Africa like no other painter of his day. SCHIRN is presenting the first major retrospective on Kuhnert’s life and work. The accompanying catalog sheds light on his oeuvre both against the backdrop of art history and the history of the natural sciences as well as against the foil of German colonial history; it contains large-format reproductions of his monumental animal paintings.
TIP An extensive chronology in the catalog gives the reader an overview of German colonial history and provides the key background information on Kuhnert’s life and work.
THE INVENTION OF AN ILLUSION
A glass display case. Behind it a stage showing scenes relating to folklore or natural history, inhabited by all kinds of materials, stuffed animals or even human figures. This is what we typically associate with dioramas. And what does this have to do with art? For the first time, the exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle takes a critical look at this question. The show starts even before the development of Louis Daguerre’s theaters at the Paris Opera, with the early religious tableaux dating from the 18th century which reflect the scientific use of dioramas in natural history museums and continues right up to the 21st century, to the deconstruction of the diorama in contemporary photographs, films and installations. The numerous texts in the accompanying catalogue range from meticulous technical instructions to art texts and even the kind of theoretical analyses typical of the history of art and culture. They reflect the interdiscipinarity of this special medium, providing multilayered insights into the cultural history of exhibiting and the development of the diorama as a precursor to the virtual world
TIP In addition to the wide range of dioramas portrayed, the catalogue texts are unbelievably diverse. They range from the detailed analyses by Carl Akeley, the inventor of the dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History, to a letter by Anselm Kiefer to the curator and Donna Haraway’s famous text on the “teddy bear patriarchy”
30 YEARS SCHIRN
THE MAGAZINE FOR THE ANNIVERSARY
All good things are thirty! In thirty entertaining chapters, the magazine collects everything that makes the SCHIRN one of the most respected and popular art institutions in Europe. Opulent to amusing, the magazine presents selected exhibitions, opinions and virulent topics, the friends and community, facts and figures, the highlights and excitement of thirty years of the SCHIRN. A magazine by and for all those who love the SCHIRN and make it what it is.
SAND IN THE EYES
Lena Henke’s is inspired by a broad variety of things, ranging from the architecture of fantastic 16th century landscaped gardens to the bright colors of Luis Barragán’s buildings in Mexico City from the mid-20th century. In the extensive installation entitled “Don’t yell at me, Warrior!” the artist draws on her very own experiences of architecture, public spaces, and urban planning concepts to develop a quite unique formal vocabulary. The pillars of the Schirn Rotunda, clad in garish yellow, pink and blue, are reflected in the cool, metallic aluminum surface of the two sculptures at the entrances to the Rotunda. Only from above can one discern their shape: outsized large eyes with a curved shape. Through grill shutters on the first floor of the Schirn fine sand drifts down into your eyes as soon as a gust of wind or the movement of a foot sends a puff of the tiny grains through the grill.
TIP Lena Henke’s piece relies on a change of perspective (from below, from above, from the side) to cerate an ever new, surprising interplay of different shapes, colors, materials, lighting situations and reflections
BLIND VOLUMES. ROSA BARBA
For the Rotunda of the SCHIRN, the Berlin-based artist Rosa Barba (*1972) has devised a new work responding titled “Blind Volumes” to the specific conditions of this freely accessible public area. In this installation created specifically for the SCHIRN, in which she responds to the openly accessible public setting of the rotunda, Barba combines the artistic media of film and sculpture. Inside the rotunda, she has erected an expansive, geometrically intricate steel construction consisting of some 80 serial framework elements. The work is twelve meters tall and nearly fills the entire lobby of the Schirn. Rosa Barba uses the installation as the stage for a dynamic choreography combining visual imagery, light, and sound. The artist also cites a selection of her own works, which are presented here in a new constellation.
PETER HALLEY. THE BRAIN RING
Based on the spatial conditions of the rotunda, Halley has developed a multi-part installation that begins on the outside and extends on the inside over both floors of the rotunda and an adjacent exhibition space. On an area of approximately 450 m² Halley designs a spatially complex, coded installation with both current and older elements of his work. Peter Halley's installations are always based on his understanding of the cultural and architectural context in which they are created. Thus, the development of The Schirn Ring was also preceded by an intensive conceptual and architectural examination of the Schirn rotunda.
JOAN MIRÓ. MURALS, WORLD PICTURES HALF A CENTURY OF PAINTING
Joan Miró had a preference for large formats and a fascination for the wall. It represents the starting point of his painting - as an object that is depicted and that determines the physical and haptic quality of his works at the same time. Miró moved away from a simple reproduction of reality and equated the picture surface with the wall. His special relationship to the wall explains the care with which he selected and prepared his materials and pictorial grounds. With white-primed canvases, raw jute, fiberboard, sandpaper or tar paper, the artist created unique pictorial worlds of outstanding materiality.
In his essay, Joan Punyet Miró, the artist's grandson, devotes himself to the artistic significance of the wall in his grandfather's oeuvre and illustrates its special influence on his painting.
The self as political issue
The traditional self-portrait is now a thing of the past. The customary features of a classic self-portrait are for the most part lacking entirely. The face has now come under suspicion. The exhibition catalogue “ME” presents a comprehensive overview of the iconoclastic processes to which the genre of the self-portrait is subject today, along with relevant subversive techniques in art, including humor, irony, decentralization, fragmentation, blindness, and obstruction. However—or perhaps precisely for that reason—the artist-subject has remained a leitmotif in contemporary art, although it is no longer associated exclusively with the image of the artist. The subject is a constantly changing phenomenon and thus difficult to grasp in a portrait.
PAPARAZZI! PHOTOGRAPHERS, STARS AND ARTISTS.
Phenomenon Paparazzi Photography
The publication focuses the fascination with star photography and reflect its influence on the visual arts and fashion photography. It features “icons” of paparazzi photography that have been permanently etched on our visual memory, including Jackie Kennedy-Onassis during an seemingly casual walk through Manhattan, Lady Di fleeing from a frenzy of flashing cameras, or the younger “favorites” of paparazzi such as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. Besides works by the most well-known representatives of paparazzi photography, such as Ron Galella, Pascal Rostain, Bruno Mouron, or Tazio Secchiaroli, positions by artists such as Cindy Sherman, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Paul McCarthy, and Richard Avedon are introduced, who have critically examined and sounded out the specific characteristics of the paparazzi aesthetic. The book tells stories from 50 years of paparazzi photography and sets it sights on the paparazzo himself – focuses on a profession that is admired and feared in equal measure and which secures its existence for the most part by means of secretly tracking and stalking famous celebrities and has made the tabloid press one of the highest-selling areas in the press sector – always on the scout and with the goal of publishing exclusive pictures of the unsuspected, the ostensibly confidential, and the personal. In the process, the complex relationships and dependencies are analyzed that occasionally develop between stars and the photographer.