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Berlin Art Week 2023: SchlagLicht – Stiftung Kunstforum Berliner Volksbank | 13.09.-10.12.2023

Editors’ Choice

SchlagLicht, the second exhibition to be shown at the Stiftung Kunstforum Berliner Volksbank in 2023, opens as part of Berlin Art Week and was created in collaboration with the Kunststiftung DZ BANK. Painting, sculpture and graphic art from the art collection of Berliner Volksbank enter into a dialogue here with photographic artworks from the collection of DZ BANK.

Fig. above: Loredana Nemes, Beker, Neukölln, 2009/2012, from the series: beyond, silver gelatine print on baryta paper, 56 x 50.2 cm, Kunststiftung DZ BANK, © Loredana Nemes

The compilation illustrates how artists combine different genres and find new forms of artistic expression through the open, experimental use of material. In the thematic fields of portrait, body and figure, cityscape and abstraction, the exhibition takes a look at different facets of being human and invites us to break through established thought structures in order to arrive at new ways of seeing. The respective focal points of the two art collections play a decisive role in this: the art collection of the Berliner Volksbank, founded in 1985, has had the motto “Images of Man” from the very beginning and today concentrates mainly on figurative art of the 1980s and 1990s from Berlin and East Germany. Its approximately 1,500 works by around 160 artists – paintings, sculptures, works on paper and prints – shed light on a decisive phase of upheaval and change in German-German history. The DZ BANK collection, which is based on American conceptual art and comprises over 10,000 works by almost 1,100 international artists, focuses in particular on photographic forms of expression. It sees itself as a mirror of photographic art production after 1945 and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. These two distinctive profiles result in an inspiring field of tension in the exhibition, in which questions of our present come to the fore.

For example, the two title works by Loredana Nemes and Clemens Gröszer as well as the works by Andrzej Steinbach not only encourage a critical questioning of the portrait genre. They also invite us to become aware of automated, sometimes unconscious mechanisms that shape our social interaction.

The works of Horst Antes, René Graetz, Sven Johne, Via Lewandowsky and Lilly Lulay deal with the conditions of being human. They examine how people find their self within multi-layered social structures, how they can define themselves as individuals despite existing political, social and personal restrictions and conditions. Works such as those by Wolfgang Tillmans, Rainer Fetting, Nan Goldin, Angela Hampel and VALIE EXPORT/Peter Weibel shake up fixed role models, articulate (queer) self-understanding and demand visibility where none existed before.

In the second part of the exhibition, which can be seen on the first floor, the focus is on the man-made urban environment. Here, Frank Darius’ painterly-looking photographs resonate with Silke Miche’s painting, which at first glance could also be a digitally processed photograph – they both focus on everyday aspects of our living environment and subject the urban landscape to aesthetic scrutiny. Man and his movement within an environment he has created is also the focus in Beate Gütschow’s digitally created “three-dimensional photographs”, as she calls her works, as well as in Wolfgang Leber’s painting in which a figure emerges amid architecturally arranged forms. And although Konrad Knebel’s grey house fronts or Michael Schmidt’s documentary Berlin Stadtbilder show deserted cityscapes, the subtle examination of the relationship between people and the city can also be found here. Stefanie Seufert’s Towers, folded from photograms, refer to ideas of non-representational painting, such as those realised on Reinhardt Grimm’s canvas, translating the photographic material into the third dimension.

The accompanying catalogue contains numerous illustrations of works as well as essays devoted to the various themes of the exhibition.

The exhibition shows 90 works by 39 artists: Horst Antes (* 1936), Alexandra Baumgartner, Manfred Butzmann (* 1942), Frank Darius (* 1963), Christa Dichgans (1940-2018), Rainer Fetting (* 1949), Arno Fischer (1927-2011), Günther Förg (1952-2013), Nan Goldin (* 1953), René Graetz (1908-1974), Reinhardt Grimm (* 1958), Clemens Gröszer (1951-2014), Beate Gütschow (* 1970), Richard Hamilton (1922-2011), Angela Hampel (* 1956), Richard Heß (1937-2017), Sven Johne (* 1976), Veronika Kellndorfer (* 1962), Konrad Knebel (* 1932), Hans Laabs (1915-2004), Wolfgang Leber (* 1936), Via Lewandowsky (* 1963), Rolf Lindemann (1933-2017), Lilly Lulay (* 1985), Silke Miche (* 1970), Herta Müller (* 1955), Loredana Nemes (* 1972), Christina Renker (* 1941), Adrian Sauer (* 1976), Michael Schmidt (1945-2014), Stefanie Seufert (* 1969), Hans Martin Sewcz (* 1955), Maria Sewcz (* 1960), Andrzej Steinbach (* 1983), Christian Thoelke (* 1973), Wolfgang Tillmans (* 1968), Ulay (1943-2020), VALIE EXPORT (* 1940) and Peter Weibel (1944-2023).


Stiftung Kunstforum Berliner Volksbank
Kaiserdamm 105
14057 Berlin


13 September – 10 December 2023
Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 6 pm, closed on Mondays

COST? 5 Euro, reduced rate 3 euros Children, youth up to 18 years free admission

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