Cut-outs and Silhouettes in Dialogue

6 July – 3 November 2018

The Exhibition that has been chosen to build a bridge into the world of contem-porary art at the August Macke House Museum places a traditional medium side by side with striking new interpretations by 16 contemporary artists. The new horizons charted by contemporary artists extend from tiny miniatures to room-filling installations, from simple black-white contrasts to color variation, from vegetal ornamentation to political statement. 

An opening prologue sets the spotlight on silhouette master and shadow artist Ernst Moritz Engert (1892–1986) and on animated-film pioneer Lotte Reiniger (1899–1981). Starting with the stark imagery of selected Expressionist works, including a never-before-shown collage by August Macke (1887–1914), the Exhibition becomes an exciting expedition into contemporary art.

Paper-cuts‘ particular suitability for expressing critical commentary is demon-strated by artists such as Felix Droese (*1950) and Annette Schröter (*1956). While Droese uses monumental outlines to cast the artistic treatment of critical inquiry in an ironic perspective, Annette Schröter grandstands motifs of Socialist Realism that have meanwhile degenerated into clichés. Violence and repression characterize the works of Tobias Gerber (*1961). Their appearance is harmless only at first glance.

The interest of Anett Frontzek (*1965) focuses on classification systems such as nautical charts and land maps that were first developed to interpret the world around us but now stand as historical relics of the pre-digital age. Building on computer-generated forms, Lena von Goedeke (*1983) ultimately develops delicate landscape segments of surprising long-distance effect and spatial dimension.

From her series Relaxing Women, Zipora Rafaelov (*1954) for the first time shows three examples of lasciviously resting women. Marion Eichmann‘s (*1974) untamed colored paper cuts reflect today‘s world of consumption and living. For the Exhibition in Bonn she has created a location-specific variant of her Laundromat installation, a hyper-realistic self-service laundry. The Head-hunters of Volker Saul (*1955) are also present in vivid colors: slight manipulations morph abstract forms into bizarre monsters.

The contemporary term „cut out“ includes expansive installations. For the show in Bonn, Munich‘s Andreas Kocks (*1960) has put together a creation that engages in discourse with August Macke‘s ideas of paradise. Heike Weber (*1962) works with layered vegetal forms of impressive plasticity and has also created for the August Macke House Museum a wall-encompassing cut-out. The theme of nature also engages Bonn artist Cornelia Genschow (*1974). For her stencil graffiti she hunted for clues along the Rhine to find out where Macke painted his famous landscape Am Rhein bei Hersel (1908).

Gabriele Basch‘s (*1964) large-format paper cuts, overworked with spray paint, generate an astonishing illusionistic chromatic echo while the cluster of small fluorescent knife-cuts by Hans Lankes (*1961) conquer the wall surface. Reduction to a single line is the subject of an extraordinary series by Martin Noël (*1956, †2010), shown for the first time. With characteristic precision, Katharina Hinsberg (*1967) is exhibiting fragile white paper-cuts with net-like structures and British Charlotte McGowan-Griffin (*1975), who lives in Berlin,  is represented with her highly dynamic White Illinx.

A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the Exhibition.

In Dialogue with His 
Expressionist Artist Friends

18 March –17 June 2018

The 125th birthday and 80th anniversary of the death of Expressionist Helmuth Macke (1891–1936) offer us an occasion to take a new look at his life's work. Born in Krefeld in 1891, the artist drowned tragically in 1936 during a boat excursion on Lake Constance. Our exhibition treats Macke for the first time in the context of his Expressionist artist friends and highlights his role as one of the players on the contemporary avant-garde scene. The show in the August Macke House Museum is the final lap of a travelling exhibition that began in Constance in the autumn of 2016.

Helmuth Macke was greatly admired by his artist friends. In his native city of Krefeld he became acquainted with modern currents in the art world at an early stage through his teacher Johan Thorn Prikker and the progressive exhibition program run by Krefeld's museum director Friedrich Deneken. He maintained a lifelong friendship with fellow students Heinrich Campendonk and Wilhelm Wieger, as well as with his fatherly friend Heinrich Nauen. He carried on an intensive exchange with his cousin August Macke and, during his year's stay in Munich and surroundings, befriended Franz and Maria Marc as well as the major figures of Munich's art scene who participated in the Neue Künstlervereinigung and Der Blaue Reiter. We then see him in Berlin among the circle known as Künstlergruppe Brücke. He was particularly close to Erich Heckel, and later chose Karl Schmidt-Rottluff to be best man at his wedding. 

As described by August Macke's widow Elisabeth Erdmann-Macke in her reminiscence of an exciting time, "They all belonged together: Franz, August, und Helmuth. And when you thought of one of them, you thought of all of them – of their friendship and comradeship, of their wishes and objectives.” 

Helmuth Macke created an independent and forceful body of works. His paintings range from expressive landscapes to portraits and still lifes. And yet this youngest member in the circle of his colleagues has nearly been forgotten. The Exhibition takes a fresh look at the artist and offers insights into his personality and development in creative dialogue with friends such as Heinrich Campendonk, Wilhelm Wieger, Heinrich und Marie Nauen, as August Macke, Franz and Maria Marc, Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky, Erich Heckel, Max Pechstein und Hans Thuar.

Starting with the early works that Helmuth Macke accomplished in the circle of friends and teachers, visitors can follow the fascinating experimentation that led to his Expressionist phase and matured through the 1920s into a lyric oeuvre of paintings and watercolors. Rounding out the presentation are pieces done by Macke on travels and the works completed in his final years at Hemmenhofen on Lake Constance, where an artist scene characterized by inner emigration arose in the 1930s. Together with his artisan handicrafts, Helmuth Macke's paintings, watercolors, and drawings reveal both a fascinating and wide ranging oeuvre, among which are works that have never before been shown. As part of this traveling exhibition, an eight-piece bedroom set, painted by the artist, will be shown for the first time in a museum framework.

A richly illustrated book edited by Ina Ewers-Schultz documents the lifework of the artist.


3 December 2017 – 4 March 2018

With »August Macke and Friends – Encounters in an Image World« the August Macke House Museum is inaugurating its spacious new exhibition rooms while honoring the great Expressionist on the 130th anniversary of his birth. As a tribute to Macke‘s outstanding importance in the avant-garde movement before the First World War, the show is also intended to complement for a limited time the newly installed permanent exhibition in August Macke‘s former home and studio in Bonn, onto which an extensive addition has now been built.

Significant works focusing on themes of central importance are presented in the chronological order of their appearance in the artist‘s oeuvre and, for the first time, against the background of the fruitful interaction between Macke and his artist colleagues. Tracing this dialogue reveals the range of contacts, networks, and friends cultivated by August Macke in the few years during which he was able to create such an extraordinary corpus of works. Juxtaposition of pictures within the individual themes will underscore similarities as well as the different accents set by the various artists and the ideas that motivated them.

The exhibition brings together some 150 works by August Macke and artist colleagues such as Heinrich Campendonk, Claus Cito, Robert Delaunay, Max Ernst, Alexej Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Helmuth Macke, Walter Macke, Franz und Maria Marc, Carlo Mense, Marie von Malachowski-Nauen, Louis Moilliet, Gabriele Münter, Heinrich Nauen, Paul A. Seehaus, Hans Thuar, and Marianne von Werefkin. A catalogue has been published in conjunction with the exhibition.