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One must daily devote oneself to accomplishments in art

With the current publication, the Deutsche Bank art calendar is celebrating its fiftieth birthday. In this golden jubilee year, the calendar documents a passion for culture and variety that beautifully enriches the monetary wealth ordinarily recorded day by day on the bank’s balance sheets.

Kunstkalender Deutsche Bank, Cover: Miwa Yanagi

While the calendar publications used to focus on themes such as landscapes of German Romantics and, later, on Art Nouveau and Cubism, it has been showcasing the bank’s own art resources since 1992. Deutsche Bank Art is responsible for the conception behind the calendar; beginning in 1992, each calendar image has been taken exclusively from the Deutsche Bank Collection. Comprising over 50,000 works, the collection is the largest of its kind in the corporate world and represents an almost inexhaustible aesthetic reservoir. Since 2001, the calendar’s images and texts have been geared even more strongly towards the bank’s commitment to the global marketplace; it is published with an international focus in a combined English and German version.

The title’s motto – “One must daily devote oneself to accomplishments in art” – originates in a work by the Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi. The texts that accompany her photographs narrate the fictional histories of those they portray

– as for instance in Minami, the name of an international chain of imaginary amusement parks that recently opened a branch in Hawaii, and whose hard-working president graces the cover of this year’s Deutsche Bank art calendar. Her rhetorical passion conveys the immensity of her personal vision.

For her Grandmothers series, Miwa Yanagi questioned young women about their dreams: what is personal fulfillment? The answers she received were as surprising as they were wide-ranging: today the need to define personal identity appears more urgent, more elementary, than ever before. Miwa Yanagi first made a photographic record of these individual acts of self-reflection and then digitally “aged” her subjects. She called the resulting series My Grandmothers.

It was her fascinating photographic portraits that prompted Deutsche Bank Art to select Miwa Yanagi as our Artist of the Business Year 2004. This year, an exhibition of her works from the Deutsche Bank Collection will follow in the footsteps of last year’s Richard Artschwager exhibition, setting out from the Deutsche Guggenheim exhibition hall in Berlin on a worldwide tour.

Miwa Yanagi’s portraits also reflect the variety of nationalities and cultures to be found within the Deutsche Bank. Since its inauguration, the bank’s art program has used the contemporary art works in the Deutsche Bank Collection to open up a whole range of new perspectives on our world. Symbolic representations of the world and of the quest for self-fulfillment are as essential to our well-being as are food and drink – as much in a bank as anywhere else. We need images of people – for people are truly human only when they possess images of themselves. And within the bank, art creates an environment in which people from a wide range of cultures can come together in common understanding – as may be seen from the pages of this calendar, each of which is a photographic inquiry into the nature of our contemporary world.

The calendar, which is otherwise reserved exclusively for bank customers, can be obtained in the Museum Shop of the Deutsche Guggenheim in a limited edition for 5.50 EUR (no postal delivery).

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