Past exhibitions

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Modernist Cinema
Film in the Weimar Republic

14 December 2018 to 24 March 2019

In the Weimar Republic, in the years between 1918 and 1933, film emerged as a new form of art. Dubbed the ‘seventh art’, it was experienced collectively and in public in the cinema.
1920s cinema provided scope for experimentation and shaped today’s international film aesthetic like no other period. German film production and, with it, directors like Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and Fritz Lang and actors like Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings achieved worldwide recognition, and for a while the German film industry was seen as a serious competitor to Hollywood.
The exhibition sheds light on what was fresh and original about the new medium and on its relationship and interplay with literature, the fine arts, architecture, psychology and socio-political developments. The mise-en-scène of the exhibition and a series of media installations foreground the ground-breaking innovations.

A joint exhibition of Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, and Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Imaginary Travels

16 November 2018 to 3 March 2019

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, co-founder of the Brücke artists’ group, is probably the best-known German Expressionist painter and a driving force of the European avant-garde. One of the leitmotifs of his life and work was the quest for the ‘exotic’ and the primal, for far-off lands and cultures. Although he never ventured beyond the borders of Germany and Switzerland, his work bears witness to his passionate engagement with non-European cultures.
Tracing the artist’s progress through Dresden, Berlin, Fehmarn and Davos, Imaginary Travels sheds light on Kirchner’s life and career from 1909 to his death in the Swiss mountains in 1938. Alongside numerous important and rarely exhibited paintings by Kirchner, the retrospective also presents the artist’s sculptures, woodcuts, drawings, photographs and textiles.

The exhibition Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Imaginary Travels is curated by Katharina Beisiegel (Art Centre Basel) in cooperation with the Kirchner Museum Davos and Thorsten Sadowsky. It is organised by the Art Centre Basel in cooperation with the Bundeskunsthalle.

Princely Painters

28 September 2018 to 27 January 2019

In the Renaissance and the Baroque period, painters like Raphael, Titian, Rubens and van Dyck attained a special status that came with social recognition and courtly privilege. In their conduct and self-portraits, these artists presented themselves as Malerfürsten, as ‘painter princes’. The Malerfürst phenomenon, which transcends national borders and spans several centuries, forms the starting point of the exhibition. Focusing on the heyday of the Malerfürst in the nineteenth century, it showcases artists such as Frederic Lord Leighton, Hans Makart, Franz von Lenbach, Mihály Munkácsy, Jan Matejko, Friedrich August von Kaulbach and Franz von Stuck. It investigates their carefully crafted public personas, the veneration they inspired and their ability to draw on a network of powerful contacts to advance their social status. New reproductive print media, extravagantly staged exhibitions, studio visits and interviews in newspapers promoted the artists and their work, created a highly profitable international market and successfully established the social construct of the Malerfürst.

In cooperation with Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie (National Museum in Cracow)

Gurlitt: Status Report
An Art Dealer in Nazi Germany

14 September 2018 to 7 January 2019
Gropius Bau, Berlin

News of the discovery of the so-called ‘Gurlitt cache’ caused an international sensation in November 2013. The 1500 works of art, which the reclusive Cornelius Gurlitt (1932–2014), son of the art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt (1895–1956), had inherited from his father raised suspicions: had they been looted by the Nazis before and during the Second World War? To investigate these suspicions, the German government provided the funding necessary to conduct further research, while Cornelius Gurlitt agreed to restitute any work identified as looted. Thus far, four such works have been returned to the heirs of their rightful owners. Cornelius Gurlitt, who died in May 2014, bequeathed his collection to the Kunstmuseum Bern.
Couched in a wider historical context, the exhibition Gurlitt: Status Report is based on the current state of research into the ‘Gurlitt cache’. The exhibition presents a selection of some 250 works, covering a broad spectrum of the history of art, that have been hidden from public view for decades and thematises the provenance of each of the works. Thus, the exhibition sheds light on the complex history of the individual objects and on the fate of the collectors, art dealers and artists – most of them Jewish – who fell victim to the systematic persecution of the Nazi regime.

An exhibition of Bundeskunsthalle and Kunstmuseum Bern

30 Jahre Kunstauktionen

16. bis 25. November 2018
Eröffnung: Donnerstag, 15. November 2018, 18 Uhr
Eintritt frei!

In diesem Jahr feiert die Deutsche AIDS-Stiftung „30 Jahre Kunstauktionen“. 33 Kunstwerke zeitgenössischer Künstlerinnen und Künstler zeigt die Stiftung zu diesem Anlass vom 16. bis 25. November in einer Sonderausstellung. Die Arbeiten, die im Zentralkabinett der Bundeskunsthalle vorbesichtigt werden können, kommen am 28. November 2018 in Köln unter den Hammer. Darunter sind Arbeiten von Leiko Ikemura, Tony Cragg, Julian Charrière, Sylvie Fleury, Heinz Mack und Candida Höfer.

The Playground Project

13 July to 28 October 2018

Between 1950 and 1980, the playground was a creative laboratory. In the cities of the industrialised world, a plethora of innovative, crazy, interesting and exciting projects were developed. Landscape architects, artists, activists and citizens sought to provide children with the best possible environment to play in and, at the same time, to rethink communal and urban life. The Playground Project captures this wealth of ideas in images, models, plans, books and numerous films as well as in play sculptures that invite visitors to slide, play hide and seek, laugh and run. Children, parents, playground designers, educators and architects are welcome to rediscover the playground of yesteryear and to imagine that of tomorrow.
Taking its starting point in the work of the pioneers of new playground concepts in the first half of the twentieth century, the exhibition shows how their ideas were received, adapted and developed in different countries. The playground is more than just an element of urban life; it also says much about the society that devised it. Last, but by no means least, the exhibition presents playgrounds as sites with a non-standard aesthetic of their own, where citizens of all ages identify with their city.

The Playground Project was developed as a travelling exhibition by Gabriela Burkhalter and adapted for its presentation at Bundeskunsthalle in cooperation with Kunsthalle Zürich.

The Playground Project

31 May to 28 October 2018

To complement The Playground Project, the Bundeskunsthalle is opening the roof garden and the museum square to Outdoor, an exhibition on the subject of ‘Play’, which provides contemporary artists Nevin Aladağ, Kristina Buch, Ólafur Elíasson, Jeppe Hein, Carsten Höller, Christian Jankowski, Llobet & Pons, Michel Majerus, Andreas Schmitten, Thomas Schütte, Superflex, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Alvaro Urbano and Ina Weber with an opportunity to design interactive installations and spaces, forms and utensil for play. Visitors are invited to experience art in a playful, participatory and performative manner. According to a philosophical definition of Homo ludens, play is a primary condition of the generation of culture, because it is through play that Homo ludens, unlike Homo faber, develops his skills. It is in play as a fundamental, formative and necessary human activity that he discovers his individual qualities, and this experience allows him to develop his dormant personality. In this definition, play is equated with freedom and autonomy of mind.

Vajiko Chachkhiani
Heavy Metal Honey

29 June to 14 October 2018

Vajiko Chachkhiani’s works explore existential questions of life and our culture of remembrance. They are notable for the conceptual intelligence and quiet poetry with which he invests even violent themes such as war and death. Looking more closely, the viewer can share in the thought processes and research of the Georgian artist. He retells allegories of everyday life in seemingly familiar images but subtly undermines them with unexpected twists. The artist’s films, sculptures, photographs and extensive installations suggest different paths and weave them into a unified whole.
For the exhibition in Bonn, Chachkhiani develops a film and sculpture installation that reflects the cycle of life and the parallelism of stories. Heavy metal in the ground stands as a metaphor for history and honey – sweet but viscous – as a metaphor for internal family structures. Global and individual history share points of intersection at which they are inextricably linked. And it is only the moment of action and recognition that can flip a switch and set stories/history on a different course that changes the narrative.

Nazca. Divine Drawings
Archaeological Discoveries
from the Peruvian Desert

10 May to 16 September 2018

In the southern Peruvian desert, one of the biggest archaeological mysteries is waiting to be solved: the giant geoglyphs of the Nazca culture of ca. 200 BC – 650 AD.
There has been endless speculation about the meaning of the Nazca Lines. But it was not until recently that archaeological research has provided clues to the worldview and culture of the Nazca.
The exhibition takes visitors on a fascinating journey into the mysterious southern Peru of the Nazca period. It invites them to marvel at rich funerary gifts from vast burial complexes, images of strange flying beings – half human, half animal – on colourful ceramic vessels and the most stunningly beautiful archaeological textile finds. Many of the exhibits have never been shown outside Peru. The geoglyphs, some of which extend over several kilometres on the arid plateau between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, are presented in modern multimedia installations.

An exhibition of Museo de Arte de Lima – MALI – and Museum Rietberg, Zürich, in cooperation with Bundeskunsthalle

Marina Abramovic
The Cleaner

20 April to 12 August 2018

Radical, controversial and admired in equal measure, Marina Abramović is one of the most talked about international artists today. She is famous for her ground-breaking performances in which she explores personal experience and responsibility and continues to probe her own physical and psychological limits. She addresses fundamental existential questions – the passage of time, physical vulnerability, memory, pain, loss, endurance and trust – that provoke or touch the viewer with great immediacy.
The first major retrospective to be shown in Europe, the exhibition presents works from all periods of Abramović’s career – from the early years to the present. Films, photographs, paintings and objects, installations and select archival material shed light on the depth and conceptual reach of the Marina Abramović’s creative cosmos. A series of reperformances enhances the visitor experience.

An exhibition of Bundeskunsthalle in cooperation with Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk

“Germany is not an Island”
Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany
Acquisitions 2012 – 2016

8 March to 3 June 2018

The exhibition presents a selection of works acquired over the last five years by a specialist committee for the Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany. It includes works by renowned young artists. The acquisitions testify to the high standard of the Federal Collection and show how historical and current developments, collective viewing habits and the questioning of image constructs translate into contemporary art. Ranging from large-scale installations to drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video and sound works, the selection bears witness to the wealth of media and techniques that distinguish contemporary artistic practice.

An exhibition of Bundeskunsthalle in cooperation with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media

Traces in Space
An exhibition of grant-holders of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s artists’ programme

23 February to 22 April 2018
– Free admission –

Five artists embark on a journey. Exploring the interplay between intimacy and distance, they create ambivalent experiential spaces in which the familiar becomes strange and the strange familiar. The artists’ sense of their own situatedness and position remains fleeting, decampment and departure are already envisaged. Working in different formal idioms and media – photography, text, sculpture and installation – Stef Heidhues, Veronika Kellndorfer, Cyrill Lachauer, Alexej Meschtschanow and Hans-Christian Schink formulate spatial experiences that briefly touch upon the question what truth might actually mean.
In the exhibition, the participating artists leave traces of their encounters and lay them as trails. Visitors following their lead do not so much experience coherent stories as layers of disparate experiences that elude documentary cartography despite recognisable spatial and historical references. Ambivalence becomes the criterion of artistic practice and the precondition for insight.

Each of the artists is a grant-holder of the EHF 2010 trustee programme.