Medal art is a focused mirror of our time. Durable and dynamic at the same time, “Hand Great Art” captures people and their world in a concentrated space. The special exhibition of the Münzkabinett in the Bode-Museum offers a representative cross-section of 14 years and, with 400 medals, plaques and medal-like objects by over 100 artists*, provides an exciting overview of contemporary German medal art.
Image above: Friedrich Brenner, Gestaucht, 2018, M5817, © Friedrich Brenner, Photo: Nicolai Kästner
Themes and artistic forms are subject to constant change. What future generations will recognise as groundbreaking and valid is beyond our knowledge. Self-certainty or even a centuries-old canon must be questioned in the face of new challenges. A good medal invites us to constantly examine such questions. The Numismatic Collection of the National Museums in Berlin has taken it upon itself to bring together the most impressive, spectacular and curious works of recent years in regular special exhibitions. “Hand Great Art. Medal Art in Germany 2007 to the Present” follows on from the exhibition “The World ‘en miniature’. German Medal Art Today”, which presented the period from 2000 to 2006 in 2007.
On display are medals from the Münzkabinett, the Staatliche Münzsammlung München and from private collections. The exhibition brings together works by over 100 artists – including the Berlin edition “Nähe und Distanz” with many current works. The contributions to the edition by students of the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle even offer a glimpse into the future of medal art.
Stylistically and thematically, the spectrum is wide and colourful. The reliefs open up a panorama ranging from portraits and inwardness to questions about the origin and future of humanity. A first accent of the exhibition is the portrait medal. From religion and myth to the reception of antiquity and medals on historical events and persons, visitors will come to very contemporary perspectives. In recent years, many artists have focused their attention on questions of human coexistence in a world in which the environment, peace, prosperity and health are exposed to dynamic threats. Honour, but also satire and criticism are encountered in all this, as well as self-reflection and pause.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a medal workshop with some of the participating artists. On Thursday, September, 29th 2022, a medal colloquium with a medal fair will take place in the context of the exhibition.
The exhibition is curated by Bernhard Weisser, Director, and Johannes Eberhardt, Research Associate of the Numismatic Collection.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by the Staatliche Münzsammlung München, hardcover, 450 pages, ISBN 978-3-922840-45-9.
Exhibition dates: Friday, 28 January 2022 – Friday, 6 January 2023
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 10 – 18 h
Museums Island Berlin, Bode-Museum