Past exhibitions

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The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Method
A Retrospective

10 September 2021 to 6 March 2022

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982) was a director, film producer, actor and author. As one of the key representatives of the New German Cinema, he succeeded in synthesising radical subjectivity and social analysis in his work, capturing the look and feel of the Federal Republic of Germany of his time like few other artists.
The retrospective, chronologically structured exhibition paints a multifaceted portrait of the great German filmmaker in the context of his time. His oeuvre, shown in combination with archive and source material, is presented as an unparalleled social document, and his biography is compellingly interwoven with the reality of the everyday life he experienced in Germany. A selection of documents, letters, archive material, photographs, quotations, personal objects, costumes and film compilations facilitate contextualisation.
Fassbinder’s exposed position, his creative non-conformity and artistic radicalism led to now-legendary films, television and theatre plays, such as FEAR EATS THE SOUL, THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, EIGHT HOURS DON’T MAKE A DAY, BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ and QUERELLE, which have become part of the collective visual memory. He was extremely prolific: in a career that lasted less than two decades, he wrote, directed or shot 45 feature films and 25 plays. From the beginning, he moved between theatre, film/television and documentary styles, adroitly adapting his visual language to the needs of each form.
Fassbinder lived and demanded intensity. His often contrary, critical attitude never got in the way of his profoundly affectionate depiction of people, irrespective of their milieu, and was invariably marked by respect and consistency. Fassbinder’s work – the subject of fierce debate during his lifetime – has lost none of its force, vitality and significance. To understand it means to be able to muster understanding and tolerance for ourselves and others.

An exhibition of the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, in cooperation with the DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, and the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, Berlin.

'Adam, Eve and the Serpent'
Works from the Schenkung Sammlung Hoffmann

29 October 2021 to 13 February 2022

With a selection of some 200 outstanding works – ranging from painting, photography, drawing and sculpture to installation, film and video art – the Bundeskunsthalle presents a comprehensive survey of modern art drawn from the important private collection put together by Erika and Rolf Hoffmann. The Hoffmanns made their first acquisitions in the 1960s, purchasing primarily directly from artists, with whom they maintained a close dialogue from the very beginning. The exhibition offers deep insights into the collection in all its individuality, subjectivity and intensely private nature – Erika Hoffmann has been known to describe the works as ‘family members.’
The dialogical, corresponding and synergetic principle of the collection, which transcends borders and generations, is made manifest in the open and cross-media presentation. The exhibition sheds light on surprising correspondences, offers intellectual and emotional stimuli and reflects fundamental existential and philosophical questions that have a timeless validity in our society. Concepts such as energy, radicality, innovation, transience, corporeality or volatility are compellingly brought to life in works by artists such as Carla Accardi, Yael Bartana, Christian Boltanski, Monica Bonvicini, Isa Genzken, Felix González-Torres, Georg Herold, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Ernesto Neto, Julian Rosefeldt, Frank Stella, Wolfgang Tillmans and Andy Warhol. The rich diversity of artistic expressions in the exhibition reflects that of the collection.

A cooperation between the Bundeskunsthalle and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Schenkung Sammlung Hoffmann

Federal Prize for Art Students

25th Federal Competition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
12 November 2021 to 30 January 2022

Every two years, the 24 German art academies nominate two of their best students to take part in the competition Federal Prize for Art Students. A jury of experts selects up to eight prize winners from among the nominees.
In the exhibition, each of the winners is given a room of their own. Their works are representative of the high quality and diversity of art currently produced at German art schools and academies – from Installation, sculpture, video, performance and painting to multimedia. The Federal Competition is a unique platform that supports outstanding students and enables them to gain professional exhibition experience and to establish contacts within the art world.

Beuys – Lehmbruck
Thinking is Sculpture

25 June to 1 November 2021

There are not many artists who caused as radical an upheaval in the history of art as Joseph Beuys. With his concept of Social Sculpture, he sought to apply the liberating potential of art to all areas of life. At the very heart of his thinking was the dissolution of the boundaries between art and society, politics, science and education. Thus Beuys gave rise to a new, expanded concept of art.
In 1986, just a few days before his death, Beuys was awarded the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize. In his acceptance speech, he stressed the importance the art of the Expressionist sculptor had for him. He explained how his encounter with Lehmbruck’s work had led him to art in the first place and traced a connection between Lehmbruck and the development of his own concept of Social Sculpture. Marking the 100 th  birthday of Joseph Beuys, the exhibition Beuys – Lehmbruck. Thinking is Sculpture explores that idea and presents the work of the two artists.

An exhibition of the Bundeskunsthalle in cooperation with the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg. The exhibition is part of the Beuys anniversary year programme »beuys 2021. 100 years joseph beuys«, a project of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in collaboration with the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. The patron is Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet.

Dress Code
Are you playing fashion?

21 May to 12 September 2021

How did you choose the clothes you are wearing today? Designer dress or jeans; suit, sweatpants or uniform – every culture, era and social group has its own dress codes. They set the framework, but each person comes up with their individual take on the rules.
Now coming to Europe, Dress Code, the hugely successful exhibition from Japan, presents fashion as a game and the daily transformation as an instrument for expressing our personality. On show are instantly recognisable fashion classics as well as their streetwear descendants. Contemporary fashion by seminal designers such as Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake, Burberry or Louis Vuitton is set into an insightful dialogue with contemporary art.
The exhibition examines different and opposing attitudes to fashion – those of participants and spectators, individualists and conformists. Our choice of clothing is presented as a communicative game that can lead us to a new understanding of our approach to fashion. What do we want to express with it – consciously or unconsciously – and what does it mean to us on a daily basis? The clothes we wear allow us to assume any number of new roles.
Complementing the exhibition, the Bundeskunsthalle is setting up a Fashion Lab that explores various themes of the exhibition in greater depth. The Lab’s numerous participatory elements offer visitors a sensory experience of the multifaceted nature of fashion. Visitors can explore creations by German fashion designers or style themselves virtually with the help of a smart mirror that uses the latest artificial intelligence and augmented reality technology. Further to a wide range of other off- and online offers, a pop-up photo area invites visitors to play it up with fashion.

An exhibition of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, and the Kyoto Costume Institute in cooperation with the Bundeskunsthalle.

Aby Warburg: Mnemosyne Atlas – The Original

10 March to 25 July 2021

In the 1920s, the art historian and cultural theorist Aby Warburg developed his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne. For this project of a ‘picture atlas’, he studied the interplay of images from different periods and contexts, ranging from antiquity and the Renaissance to contemporary culture. To highlight universally recurring visual themes and patterns, Warburg juxtaposed images of works of art from the Middle East and Europe with contemporary newspaper clippings and advertisements.
His method set new standards: for the first time, motifs and images were looked at across epochs. His work transcended the disciplinary boundaries between art history, philosophy and anthropology and laid the foundations for today’s disciplines of image and media studies.
To this day, Warburg’s approach remains inspirational and offers alternative routes through our visually and digitally dominated world. Consisting of 63 large panels, the exhibition is the first to present a nearly complete reconstruction of the last documented version of the Atlas with Warburg’s original visual material.

Curated by Roberto Ohrt and Axel Heil with the Warburg Institute, London, in cooperation with the Bundeskunsthalle
Produced by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Hannah Arendt
and the 20th Century

9 March to 20 June 2021

The twentieth century simply cannot be understood without Hannah Arendt.
Amos Elon, journalist and writer

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was one of the most important political thinkers of her time. Controversial and opinionated, she commented on current events. In her judgements she did not follow any tradition or political direction. ‘Thinking without a banister,’ she called it.
The Jewish writer who had fled Nazi Germany coined the terms we still use to describe two central concepts: ‘totalitarianism’ and ‘banality of evil’. She wrote about anti-Semitism, the situation of refugees, the Eichmann trial, Zionism, the US political system, racial segregation, student protests and feminism.
Not one of these issues has been resolved. Thus, the exhibition presents a life and work that reflect the history of the 20th century and that have lost none of their relevance and explosive power. The presentation is not biographical, but sheds light on Arendt as a public intellectual: the disputes she engaged in, the insights she shared, the errors she was subject to. Hannah Arendt’s ideas continue to challenge our own judgement, even in current political contexts, especially at a time when democracy is in grave danger of being undermined in many places around the world.

An exhibition of the Deutsches Historisches Museum in cooperation with the Bundeskunsthalle