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"An exciting discourse among all those involved"
Dr. Ariane Grigoteit on the art in Deutsche Bank's new building in Stuttgart

In Deutsche Bank AG's new building in Stuttgart, art encounters an innovative con-cept of the working place. Mobile offices offer the possibility of designing the workplace according to individual needs. The bank's art concept, which consists of works by artists closely tied to Stuttgart, enters into this atmosphere of the freeform working place with a spectrum ranging from Classic Modernism to young contemporary art. Art historical references are drawn, for instance between the works of Oskar Schlemmer and the young photographer Delia Keller, who investigates the master's Bauhaus Staircase from 1932 in a work of the same title. At the same time, the form of presentation itself enters into a dialogue with the architecture with a perspective shifting from the local context to a broader view of the international art scene. In particular, Günther Förg's largescale architecture photographs illuminate details of the new Stuttgart building, enabling us to see the world around us in a different way.

Delia Keller, After Millet, 2000
Deutsche Bank Collection

Along with Förg, the work of another international art star augments the exhibition's regionally rooted positions: The titles of the apparently innocuous, abstract Dot paintings of the British artist Damien Hirst, who is already represented with important works in the bank's Winchester House in London, refer to the pharmaceutical world. The series attests to Hirst's investigations into the cycles of life and death much in the manner of his prepared animal bodies swimming in formaldehyde, which shocked the public; one of these works can be seen in Stuttgart. In accordance with the Deutsche Bank Collection's focus on contemporary art, the artistic disciplines represented in the building such as painting, sculpture, drawing, graphic art, and photography reflect the many facets of the contemporary art scene, with a particular emphasis on the younger generation of artists. On the occasion of the opening of the new building on September 27, Petra Mostbacher-Dix from Stuttgarter Nachrichten spoke with the curator in charge, Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, Global Head of Deutsche Bank Art - about art, the bank, and the art concept for the new Stuttgart building.

You've played an important role in building up Deutsche Bank's art collection. How does it feel to have been involved from the very beginning?

Very good! It's great to have a chance to amass together a collection like this. We also had some wonderful advocates. The former and, sadly, recently deceased member of the board Herbert Zapp set the whole thing into motion together with his assistant Bernhard Steinrücke, who now runs the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce in Bombay. I've been working for the Deutsche Bank Collection since 1986, together with Friedhelm Hütte. At the time, I was doing my doctorate on Beuys' watercolors and giving guided tours at Frankfurt's Städel. That's when they asked me if I didn't want to do the same for Deutsche Bank. And so I did - and quickly realized that there was a huge difference between museum tours and the task at the bank.

Günther Förg, untitled (Inturist Garage), 1995
Deutsche Bank Collection

Dr. Ariane Grigoteit,
Curator and Global Head Deutsche Bank Art

What were the differences?

People go to museums to see art. The works hanging there have already been officially approved, so to speak. In another environment, for instance in the commercial space of a bank, people ask why something is supposed to be art. The confrontation between artists and businessmen is always highly interesting: it's a collision of two worlds.

Nonetheless, over 200 guided tours are given annually in Deutsche Bank's twin towers in Frankfurt. Apparently, there's great interest in the art treasures there.

Yes, the tours our art historians give there are very popular. Last year, it was exactly 251 tours, more than the amount of working days in a year. The visitors have an interest in the entire situation, of course. It's not just about the art, but also a kind of curiosity about how things look behind the scenes at Deutsche Bank.

And what can visitors see there?

We want to give them an overview on what's happened in contemporary art since the Second World War. And so we furnished each floor in the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt with the works of one artist. We concentrated on the artists and students of two important academies, in Dusseldorf and Karlsruhe. Joseph Beuys and his successors, such as Felix Droese, stand for the Dusseldorf Academy, while HAP Grieshaber and his students, such as Horst Antes, stand for the Karlsruhe Academy.

Willi Baumeister, untitled, undated
Deutsche Bank Collection

You also put together the art concept for Deutsche Bank's new Stuttgart headquarters. What were your criteria?

Among other things, it was important to us to show works with classical Stuttgart roots. In the new building at Theodor Heuss Strasse 3, we're showing works by Willi Baumeister and Oskar Schlemmer, as well as photographs by Anton Stankowski, who lived and died in Stuttgart. Stankowski created Deutsche Bank's corporate logo, which is known worldwide. Of course, the younger generation has to be a part of it as well, and so we chose Karin Sander, Tobias Rehberger, Delia Keller, and the draftsman Peter Holl. It's always very important to us that each branch's concept contains a refer-ence to the respective city. For our new building in Sydney, for instance, which Sir Norman Foster designed, two Aborigine artists created the overall directional system, while other works reflect the remaining four continents.

What particular challenges did the new Stuttgart building's architecture present in terms of hanging the art works?

The architecture did indeed present a special challenge for the hanging. The architects had originally planned an interior design geared towards setting colorful accents in the building's core and lending the seating arrangements a more sculptural character, for instance. We then worked together on a presentation featuring the exhibition of largescale black and white photographs in the outer architectural core and sculptures in the two-story atrium.

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