An exhibition in our time. – Superman is thwarted and flies into the wall, an oversized hybrid bunny offers maternal protection, a pair of seahorses swap traditional gender roles and passion strikes sparks: with selected contemporary works by 31 female artists of different generations and cultural influences, the exhibition at the Museum Frieder Burda is devoted exclusively to female positions and their broad spectrum of content.
Img. above: Patricia Waller, o. T. (Superman), 2011. wool, styrofoam, wire, crochet, 120 x 60 × 50 cm. Courtesy of Galerie Deschler, Berlin © Patricia Waller and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023
Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979) was an art collector, gallery owner and patron. The legendary US-American is considered a pioneer and supporter of the international avant-garde from Max Ernst to Marcel Duchamp and Jackson Pollock. She also experienced her role as a woman in an expanding and male-dominated art business as ambivalent.
Exactly 80 years ago, she presented the exhibition Exhibition by 31 Women in her visionary gallery Art of this Century in New York, a show that exclusively gave women artists a stage and thus brought them into focus at an early stage.
And it was Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), one of the key figures of 20th century art, who, as a long-time artist friend, advised her on the title and concept of the exhibition. But Duchamp had another passion: chess. Here, as is well known, the queen is the most powerful piece, while the king in its limited radius of action is dependent on the protection of the other pieces.
The reviews at the time ranged from grudging admiration to condescending disdain. These judgements culminated in the statement by the art critic of the influential TIME Magazine, James Stern, who rejected the exhibition on the grounds that there had never been a “first-rate woman artist”. What a mistake even then!
The conceptual basis of this historically important exhibition is now taken up by The King is Dead, Long Live the Queen and pays tribute to the artistic work of exactly 31 women artists who address the aesthetic, political and social transformations of our recent times. Here, the artists prove to be witnesses of their time, which is always our time as well. The exhibition intends to give the works exhibited here their own voice, free and independent of the ideological debates so popular in the culture industry.
To this end, Udo Kittelmann has reviewed his many years of curatorial biography and invited female artists who are decisive for him as well as for their respective contexts. The presentation brings together works of art from various disciplines, including painting, sculpture, film, sound and installation. The works combine in the exhibition course to form a narrative overall staging – and yet always remain in focus as strong individual positions. “The exhibition gives the works a voice and trusts their power and significance to assert themselves, sometimes loudly, sometimes subtly quietly,” says Udo Kittelmann.
Hiba Alansari | Thuraya Al-Baqsami | Monira Al Qadiri | Rosa Barba | Alexandra Bircken | Monica Bonvicini | Leda Bourgogne | Kerstin Brätsch | Tania Bruguera | Ceal Floyer | Galli | Asta Gröting | Roey Victoria Heifetz | Almut Heise | Leila Hekmat | Leiko Ikemura | Anne Imhof | Annette Kelm | Conny Maier | Heidi Manthey | Beatriz Morales | Sara Nabil | Helga Paris | Adrian Piper | Lin May Saeed | Karin Sander | Julia Scher | Marianna Simnett | Sturtevant | Rosemarie Trockel | Patricia Waller
Museum Frieder Burda
Lichtentaler Allee 8b
Saturday, 13. May – Saturday, 08. October 2023
Opening hours : Tue–Sat, 10.00am – 6pm