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Dix and the Present – Deichtorhallen Hamburg | 30.09.2023-25.02.2024

Editors’ Choice

From 30 September 2023 to 25 February 2024, the Deichtorhallen Hamburg will present a major exhibition on Otto Dix and his influence on art up to the present day. For the first time, Dix’s oeuvre from the time of the Nazi dictatorship will also be comprehensively presented, a time when some of his works were considered “degenerate”. The focus is on the artistic effects of political censorship, conformity and political iconography with reference to contemporary art. 50 works by Dix enter into dialogue with 100 works by 50 international artists.

Fig. above: Yael Bartana, Degenerate Art Lives (video still), 2010 © Yael Bartana. Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv

The first focus of the exhibition curated by Dr Ina Jessen concentrates on Dix’s only supposedly apolitical work from the Nazi era. Starting from Otto Dix’s (1891-1969) radical and provocative works of the 1920s, which are still popular today, an œuvre emerged from 1933 onwards that was far less offensively sociocritical in its visual language: the previously striking images of society were transformed after 1933 into partly subversive, partly subtle forms of contemporary criticism. Instead of war scenarios and socio-critical milieus, there were primarily landscape depictions, commissioned portraits and, from 1937, Christian allegorical motifs. Otto Dix’s work created during the Nazi era has so far occupied a secondary position in the exhibition and research landscape. The exhibition DIX UND DIE GEGENWART is dedicated to filling this gap. In order to grasp Dix’s landscapes, portraits and Christian subjects in the context of his time, the exhibition places the painter, his work and his professional career in the artistic and political context of the Weimar Republic, National Socialism and the period shortly after the end of the war.

DEEDS NEWS - Deichtorhallen Hamburg - Dix und die Gegenwart - Otto Dix - Photo Herbert Boswank
Otto Dix, Selbstbildnis mit Palette vor rotem Vorhang, 1942, Öl auf Holz, 100 x 80 cm, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, erworben mit Unterstützung der Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung und der Wüstenrotstiftung Genehmigt durch die Otto Dix Stiftung, Vaduz, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023

The second focus of the exhibition as well as the catalogue concentrates on the artistic reception of Otto Dix in terms of subjects, political iconography, style, technique and genre. On the one hand, the show makes visible the changes in cultural and social conditions in the reception of Dix’s work, and on the other hand, it shows the great fascination that his work exerts on around 50 of the world’s best-known contemporary women artists between appropriation and reinterpretation, challenge and incentive. The selected artists include Yael Bartana, Monica Bonvicini, Marc Brandenburg, John Currin, Alice Neel, Nicolas Party, Cindy Sherman, Katharina Sieverding and Kara Walker.

The curator of the exhibition is Dr Ina Jessen. With her expertise, the project is also based on her profound knowledge of Otto Dix during the Nazi era. The concept of the exhibition is based on Dr. Ina Jessen’s research and doctorate (De Gruyter, 2022) and examines artistic upheavals that are causally rooted in prevailing state and socio-political developments.

DEEDS NEWS - Deichtorhallen Hamburg - Dix und die Gegenwart - Nicolas Party - Photo Adam Reich
Nicolas Party, Portrait with a Lawyer, 2021, © Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Foto: Adam Reich

Participating artists: Marina Abramović, Kader Attia, Ernie Barnes, Yael Bartana, Georg Baselitz, Monica Bonvicini, Marc Brandenburg, Thorsten Brinkmann, Glenn Brown, John Currin, Tacita Dean, Otto Dix, Martin Eder, Nicole Eisenman, Zeng Fanzhi, Lucien Freud, Falk Gernegroß, Adrien Ghenie, Nan Goldin, Simone Haack, Kati Heck, Almut Heise, Simin Jalilian, Anselm Kiefer, York der Knoefel, Friedrich Kunath, Stéphane Mandelbaum, Esko Mannikkö & Pekka Turunen, Paul McCarthy, Bod Mellor, Gianni Motti, Ron Mueck, Alice Neel, Meriele Neudecker, Catherine Opie, Nicolas Party, Grayson Perry, Juan Miguel Pozo, Paula Rego, Faith Ringgold, Julian Rosefeldt, Anne Laure Sacriste, Cindy Sherman, Katharina Sieverding, Zandile Tshabalala, Werner Tübke, Kara Walker, Martin Weinhold, Tsai Yi-Ting, Tobias Zielony, Miron Zownir


Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Deichtorstr. 1-2
20095 Hamburg


Tuesday – Sunday, 11am-6pm.
Every 1st Thursday of the month 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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