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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Dawn of Humanity. Art in Times of Change – Kunstmuseum Bonn | 19.10.2023 – 18.02.2024

Editors’ Choice

The exhibition Dawn of Humanity. Art in Times of Change shows works of art from the first two decades of the 20th century, which come from the collection of Classical Modernism of the Kunstmuseum Bonn, in dialogue with contemporary artistic positions.

Fig. above: Emma Talbot, Fluid Lovers, 2018, Courtesy the artist and Petra Rinck Galerie

What the works from both eras have in common is that their emergence fell and still falls at a time of great social, political and societal crises – and that this experience is reflected and depicted in the works: at that time, the change in life due to the consequences of the industrial revolution, today the current transformation of our social togetherness due to the experience of climate change and the depletion of our world’s resources. Wars and violent conflicts that threaten our existence, as well as questions of identity and self-determination, characterise both the beginning of the 20th and the 21st century.

The title of the exhibition Menschheitsdämmerung is borrowed from the collection of poems of the same name by Kurt Pinthus from 1919, which summarises the expressionist poetry of the first decade of the 20th century in four chapters: “Sturz und Schrei” (Fall and Cry), “Erweckung des Herzens” (Awakening of the Heart), “Aufruf und Empörung” (Call and Indignation), “Liebe den Menschen” (Love Man). The exhibition tour follows these thematic orientations in an associative manner. Art is understood here as a means of questioning the world, triggering new impulses for thinking and thus also acting socially. The exhibition shows the crisis, the social upheaval in the view of art. Art not only questions structures and breaks them open, but also creates new perspectives and possibilities for action. The works of art from the two centuries are related to each other or contrasted with each other. This creates a network of references, but also makes differences and contrasts visible.

DEEDS NEWS - Kunstmuseum Bonn - Francis Alys - 2016 - Courtesy the artist
Francis Alÿs, Untitled, 2016, Oil on canvas (front and back), Mirror, German private collection, © Francis Alÿs

Participating artists

Nevin Aladağ, Francis Alÿs, Kader Attia, Yael Bartana, Rebekka Benzenberg, Monica Bonvicini, Andrea Bowers, Heinrich Campendonk, Louisa Clement, Max Ernst, Georg Herold, Franz M. Jansen, Alexej von Jawlensky, Käthe Kollwitz, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Max Liebermann, August Macke, Helmuth Macke, Goshka Macuga, Marie von Malachowski-Nauen, Carlo Mense, Zanele Muholi, Heinrich Nauen, Grace Ndiritu, Anys Reimann, Deborah Roberts, Daniel Scislowski, Paul Adolf Seehaus, Tschabalala Self, Monika Sosnowska, William Straube, Emma Talbot, Hans Thuar, Lawrence Weiner

The exhibition is supported by the Foundation for Art, Culture and Social Affairs of Sparda-Bank West and the Hans Fries Foundation.


Kunstmuseum Bonn
Helmut-Kohl-Allee 2
53113 Bonn



Wednesday, 18.10.2023, 7 p.m.
Admission is free on the opening evening, registration is not required.

Exhibition duration:

Thu, 19.10.2023 – Sun, 18.02.2024
Tue to Sun, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wed 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
closed on Mondays


Regular € 7, reduced € 3,5

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