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>> Profession: Woman Artist
>> El Regreso de los Gigantes:
>> And the Giants Crossed the Atlantic
>> The Other View
>> Giants in the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Monterrey

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Marco - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Currently Presenting the Grandeur of German Art

The Return of the Giants. German painting of 1975–1985 is the title of an exhibition opening this evening (26.11.2002) at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo and featuring a significant part of the collection of the Deutsche Bank. (Read spanish article here)
By Martha Ramos

The retrospective gaze of German artists of the seventies and eighties brought forth two artistic movements: New Figuration and the Neue Wilde (The New Wild); beginning this evening, their positions can be seen in Monterrey at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in an exhibition featuring works from the collection of the Deutsche Bank entitled The Return of the Giants. German painting of 1975–1985. The exhibition, open to the public from 8:30 P.M., fills the museum halls 6,7, and 8 with over 130 works of varying size primarily on paper by twelve outstanding European artists. Along with Georg Baselitz, Karl Horst Hödicke, Antonius Höckelmann, Jörg Immendorff, Dieter Krieg, Markus Lüpertz, and A.R. Penck, the exhibition also presents artists of the so-called New Figuration; proponents of the Neue Wilde, such as Elvira Bach, Walter Dahn, Jirí Georg Dokoupil, Rainer Fetting, and Helmut Middendorf are also on display. Following its tenure in Monterrey, the exhibition will be travelling to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

Provocative Spirit
This exhibition is currently being shown in South America thanks to the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, which was founded to expand Deutsche Bank’s cultural activities in the region and is currently planning further projects in the areas of culture, education, and social welfare, according to Héctor Ramos, the foundation’s director in Latin America.
In his opening speech on The Return of the Giants, Friedhelm Hütte, curator and director of the collection of the Deutsche Bank, asserted that all of the works shown are connected by a common provocative spirit; in turning back to figurative art, the artists positioned themselves in opposition to post-war conceptual and minimal art. In this sense, the exhibition’s title refers to a work of the same name by Rainer Fetting, who was alluding to van Gogh and Gauguin and placed himself within the intellectual tradition of the Neo-Expressionists.

The works shown represent a considerable portion of the nearly 50,000 works of the collection of the Deutsche Bank; in a sensual, overflowing figurative language, they demonstrate their openly declared resistance to the weight of art theory.

Ivo Mesquita, the Brazilian curator responsible for the exhibition catalogue, voiced the fact that this revitalization of impressionist and expressionist traditions among European artists also took place in a similar manner in Latin America: “The local movements regarded themselves as a response to a rationality that prevailed in the 50s and 60s and was carried out to the point of excess. It was an answer formulated in many locations that met with great response in Latin America.”

At the time, this attitude of rejection towards conceptual art quickly earned the artists a reputation for being anachronistic. According to the curator, the visitor to The Return of the Giants should take this fact as an incitement to reflect upon the contemporary discourse: the reference here is to the current debate over painting’s standpoint in view of the digital and alternative media in art as well as the new theoretical positions they have produced. Mesquita states: “I believe that an understanding of this painting is contingent upon comprehending what began back in the 70s and 80s and was defined in terms of the question of painting’s value as such. A contemporary dialogue has to carry on from here, particularly when the ‘death of painting’ is stubbornly propagated in spite of the fact that artists continue to paint as ever before. At the same time, the growing significance of the new artistic media shouldn’t merely be read as a reaction to a need sparked by the market, but rather examined in terms of its relevance to the public. The necessity of the new in art hardly has to be stressed anymore. And despite this: artists are still painting! In this regard, the exhibition should serve to take that first moment of questioning as an occasion for shedding light on the current positions, in view of the various artistic movements.”

Connections and Influence
Among the high points of The Return of the Giants are Georg Baselitz’work “Eagle,” hung at the beginning of the exhibition tour, as well as the series of small paintings by A.R. Penck and Middendorf’s “Embracing the Night,” all of which give credible expression to their creators’ potent emotionality. Thanks to Alejandro García Aguinaco’s art historical texts, the tour offers the public the possibility to follow the artists’ respective developments as well as their various connections and mutual influences. The curator has divided the exhibition into three large groups, the first of which includes the artists of the post-war generation, followed by a second comprised of the artists from Berlin and Cologne. The third group is made up of a younger generation of artists.

The colors of most of the paintings stand out starkly against the white walls, while some works evince references to African art. A consistent framing of the pictures that compensates for their difference in size facilitates the viewer in grasping the various relationships among the works. Friedhelm Hütte and Ivo Mesquita will be offering a more in-depth insight into the exhibition’s theme this evening at 7:30 PM at the conference in Marco’s auditorium. Afterwards, the exhibition will open at 8:30 PM. Both events are open to the public.