Expressionist and Contemporary Art Juxtaposed
6 March to 7 June 2020
Using the numerous embroideries done by Elisabeth Macke, her mother Sophie Gerhardt, and her grandmother Katharina Koehler from drafts sketched by August Macke, our Exhibition for the first time examines embroidery in Expressionist art. Works from that epoch are brought together with significant pieces done by contemporary artists who have dedicated themselves to this special medium.
Expressionists like August Macke, who were part of Der Blaue Reiter circle, used embroidery to help their images exit the canvas and become part of everyday use – the respective stitch was varied in keeping with the designated purpose. The embroidered pieces wed art esthetics to the needs of everyday living. In a revolutionary manner they transcend the dividing line between free and applied art. Meanwhile, Christian Rohlfs, Fifi Kreutzer, and Marta Worringer were fashioning elaborately stitched em-broidery pictures to be framed and hung on walls like paintings.
What is it in this age-old and time-consuming technique that fascinates artists nowadays? It is no longer, nor has it been for quite some time, a matter of stretching conventional limits. Rather, embroidery is now understood as artistic expression in its own right, characterized by a special interface between received tradition and contemporary perspectives. With stitch and thread, the tiniest pieces of art can be created as well as installations that engulf entire rooms. The treatment of the chosen medium allows for a broad spectrum of materials and a wide radius of content. Biographical, socio-political, and conceptual ideas can be implemented through many channels. Optical, haptic, and tactile effects play key roles, and thread length extends works into the spatial dimension. As artists test new media the very stitching and piercing of thread into the basis material can also be perceived as potentially aggressive. Two art works can simultaneously emerge from a single process when both sides of the image are viewed as independent works and their twofold creation intended from the outset.
The Exhibition unites Expressionist works by Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fifi Kreutzer, August Macke, Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter, Christian Rohlfs, and Marta Worringer with contemporary pieces by Robert Abts, Walter Bruno Brix, Jochen Flinzer, Angelika Frommherz, Sylvie Hauptvogel, Claudia Kallscheuer, Gisoo Kim, Alexandra Knie, Suscha Korte, Bea Meyer, Vanessa Oppenhoff, Barbara Wrede, and Andrea Ziegler.
Curator: Dr. Ina Ewers-Schultz