Paintings are always an expression of their time and their creators’ individuality. Once they have made it to the museum wall, they begin to shape the image of their era. Paintings become iconic when they unerringly reflect a certain period, when they become the distinct image of their present day. Though paintings age over time, their content remains unaltered: to us as observers, their »before« is a »now« at any given time. Painting, therefore, is just as much a testimony to the moment of its creation as it is eternal.
The new presentation of the Kunsthalle’s collection of paintings since 1947 staged in the skylight rooms of the Gallery of Contemporary Art explores the field between the two poles »present« and »eternity«. Considering that they are on display at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, the question arises, that museums are generally concerned with, as to when the present actually begins and whether it is a period of time.
The exhibition juxtaposes seemingly incongruous, demanding mutual tolerance from the participating artists (and their works). Figurative painting from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – collected by the Kunsthalle early on – is confronted with the broken figuration after 1945 in France, Minimalism meets Pop art, gestural abstraction encounters ironical figuration.
On view are works by Wols, Cy Twombly, K.O. Götz, Sam Francis, Rosemarie Trockel, Almut Heise, Maria Lassnig, Richard Lindner, Werner Büttner, Albert Oehlen, Konrad Klapheck, Georg Baselitz, Francis Bacon, Willem De Kooning, Werner Tübke, Johannes Grützke, Sabrina Haunsperg and Hanns Kunitzberger, among others.