A Century of Landscapes
Starting on the 15th of August
2002, the exhibition Landschaften
eines Jahrhunderts from the collection Deutsche Bank Kunst, which
has been traveling throughout Germany since 1999, can be seen in the South
African National Gallery in Capetown under the title A Century of
Neo Rauch, Altenburger Fenster, 1997
The exhibition provides testimony to the ways in
which art reflects the stark transformation of cultural values in the landscape
motif. It spans the time from the German impressionists and expressionists
through the painters of the Neue Sachlichkeit and expressive realism to
the second half of the 20th century.
Landscape as mirror, utopia, and analysis
of recent occurrence: following the war, for example, the landscape as
a signifier for "home" had become obsolete. During the fifties and sixties,
informal painting at best allowed landscape associations into its imagery.
It was only at the end of the seventies – with the rediscovery of the stark
gestures of expressionism on the part of the young German painters – that
landscape once again became the topic of artistic investigation. Thus,
it was younger works that involved themselves with the aesthetic issues
of copy, authenticity, and perception and that evinced a new consciousness
for nature and the environment.
Gerhard Richter, Abstrakt, 25.5.92, 1992
Lee Krasner, Ohne Titel, 1953/54
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2002
With its power of suggestion and
enormous quality of recognition, the landscape image is particularly suitable
for providing insight into the collecting history of the Deutsche Bank.
In an extensive catalogue
on the exhibition, the perspectives of near and far structure individual
chapters which delve into themes such as "The Landscape as Backdrop," "Cultivated
Nature," or "Archetypes of Landscape." Thus, imaginary landscapes intermingle
with forms borrowed from nature, uniting in an extraordinary excursion
that leads over branches and stones, fields and meadows, forest and mountain,
sea and lake. In the works of over 120 artists, the panorama of A Century
of Landscapes reflects the history of our culture and provides evidence
of the continuous relevance of a subject that will go on to inspire generations
of artists to come.
Albert Hertel, Tiergarten, 1900
© Sammlung Deutsche Bank