For the Stadtmuseum Berlin’s Art Autumn, an exhibition at the reopened Museum Ephraim-Palais focuses on the important Flemish Expressionist, Dadaist and Surrealist who spent the revolutionary years after the First World War in exile in Berlin.
Image above: Bildmotiv der Ausstellung © Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Letterenhuis | Design: BLUM GmbH
The Flemish poet Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1928) lived in Berlin from October 1918 to May 1921. Here he witnessed the revolutionary events and met numerous expressionist artists. His volume of poetry “Bezette Stad” (German: “Occupied City”), written in Berlin, exploded the forms of poetry and typography known until then. With it, van Ostaijen led modern literature to a high point and at the same time laid an important foundation stone for modern Dutch literature. Today he is considered one of the most important poets of the Dutch cultural landscape.
Art as the engine of revolution
van Ostaijen was convinced that art can and must advance the revolution. The themes of his works are the First World War, the downfall of the bourgeois order, his vision of independent nations in a socialist Europe, but also loneliness and fear. In the spring of 1921, he returned to Belgium, disappointed by the failed revolution and the artists who, in his eyes, were not radical enough – but also due to the end of his relationship with Emma Clement, a self-employed woman who had provided for their joint livelihood.
In Belgium and the Netherlands, van Ostaijen has been appreciated as a rebel and outstanding artist since the 1950s, especially for his novel rhythmic poetry. In Germany, on the other hand, he is hardly known. Who was this artist? What does he have to say to a contemporary Berlin audience? The exhibition, whose Flemish title is “Boem!” (German: “Boom!”) is borrowed from one of his poems, approaches his person and the work he created in Berlin. Highlights include handwritten original manuscript pages, “The Lovers” by Fritz Stuckenberg (portrait of Paul van Ostaijen and Emma Clements) and a current artistic position by Hanaa el Degham.
Exhibition dates: Friday, 14 October – Friday, 30 December 2022
5,00 / reduced 3,00 Euro
up to 18 years free admission
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