this issue contains
>> Welcome to "25"
>> Hall of Fame englisch
>> Interview with Ariane Grigoteit
>> Visionary Spaces: Zaha Hadid

>> archive


The section by collector Paul Maentz opens the course with what appears at first glance to be an unusual combination: Anselm Kiefer’s large-format piece Wege der Weltweisheit: Die Hermanns-Schlacht (1978), a grim portrait gallery of Germany’s “poets and thinkers”; Piet Mondrian’s abstract Composition in Yellow (1936-44); and Renee Sintenis’ sculpture Daphne (1930). This bronze by the Berlin artist captures the moment in which the nymph Daphne, fleeing from Apollo’s advances, turns into a laurel tree. Transformation, permanent change – this is the topic that connect these seemingly disparate works. Sintenis’ Daphne becomes a tree. Mondrian’s composition features the traces of its genesis: lines that seem like preliminary sketches can be seen like shadows in the background and show how the composition changed while it was being created. And Kiefer’s work reflects the changes to which history subjects the image of these “German intellectual heroes”. The theme of transformation supplies an appropriate leitmotif for the entire exhibition.

Anselm Kiefer, Wege der Weltweisheit, Art at Work,
Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt am Main, Foto: Lee Mawdsley, London

The 25 godparent sections and the subsequent Curator’s Choice have a vague chronological order that follows the focus of each selection. At the beginning of the show, visitors are met largely by masterpieces of Classical Modernism such as Wassily Kandinsky’s early abstract Aquarell mit rotem Fleck (1911), Emil Nolde’s Phantasie (1931), or Max Beckmann’s sculpture Adam und Eva. These classic works are placed opposite pieces from younger generations, which leads to interesting juxtapositions and disruptions. The exciting thing about the various sections is that some godparents chose a cross-section from art history, while others concentrated on just one artist. For instance, Miuccia Prada, Italian fashion designer and president of the art foundation Fondazione Prada, has exclusively chosen works by Andreas Slominski. In 2003, Milan’s Fondazione Prada presented Slominski’s first extensive solo show in Italy. The artist has also demonstrated his sense of the absurd at the Deutsche Guggenheim with his clever art traps. Dr. Rolf-E. Breuer, Chairman of the Deutsche Bank Advisory Board and formerly responsible for the Bank’s art-related activities, uses his section to recall the Deutsche Guggenheim exhibitions that have impressed him the most: James Rosenquist, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola and Miwa Yanagi.

Miwa Yanagi, Kagome Kagome, Still DVD, 1994
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c) Miwa Yanagi
Hiroshi Sugimoto, Emperor Hirohito, 1999,
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c) Hiroshi Sugimoto

The exhibition leads through the redesigned museum shop into the atrium of the neighboring Deutsche Bank on Unter den Linden . For 25, a Deutsche Guggenheim exhibition is using Deutsche Bank space for the first time. The atrium has been turned into a futuristic sculpture park for this anniversary show. Zaha Hadid has arranged structures that reach dynamically towards the ceiling. It is here, in the atrium, that visitors find the Curator’s Choice section, which expands on the mainly external point of view of the godparents. Alongside milestones of the Collection, curator Dr. Ariane Grigoteit has chosen recent acquisitions. One example is Julie Mehretu’s Drawings (new constructions) #11 (2003): the artist’s complex compositions combine computer-generated architectural models, gestural drawings and colorful geometric forms. Julie Mehretu, who was born in Ethiopia and now lives in New York, addresses different cultures in her work. The artist deals intensively with the areas of conflict between individuals and communities. For Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, works such as these are trend-setting: “The most recent acquisitions for the Collection, such as those by Julie Mehretu, Tam Ochiai or William Kentridge, open up the view onto the Bank’s future art program. What direction will it go in? We hope towards a multifaceted, open, effective and tolerant vision of society. It is especially the fact that many of the works raise questions about collective values and individual self-determination, and thereby refuse to accept simple solutions, that makes them so exciting.”

Buckminster Fuller, Geodesic Structures Monohex, from "Inventions: Twelve around one", 1981
Deutsche Bank Collection, Courtesy of Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio

Buckminster Fuller, Non-Symmetrical Tension-Integrity Structures, from "Inventions: Twelve around one", 1981
Deutsche Bank Collection, Courtesy of Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio

From the atrium, a window opens onto works that outsiders rarely get to see. In the Bank’s first aid room, one can discover a mural painted by the American Tom Sachs. Here, art can be seen “in situ” – after all, the Deutsche Bank Collection’s motto is “art at work”. So art is present each day in the Bank’s branches all around the world – and not just on the executive floors, but also in the employees’ offices, the conference rooms, in the hallways – or in surprising places, like in the first aid room.

It is also from the atrium that the visitor reaches the last section, chosen by Francesca von Habsburg. The chairwoman of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, a foundation dedicated to supporting contemporary art, has chosen, alongside works by Wolfgang Tillmans and Fischli&Weiss, Bill Viola’s room-filling video piece Going Forth by Day (2002), for which a special tent was erected on the patio. This five-part video installation, conceived especially for the Deutsche Guggenheim, reflects the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It’s a modern fresco – the roughly 35-minute-long video sequences are projected directly onto the walls – influenced by Giotto’s frescos for the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.

Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Untitled, 1991
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c) Peter Fischli & David Weiss

In its anniversary exhibition, the Deutsche Bank Collection presents itself in all its various facets, thanks to this unusual concept and its 26 “curators”. The decision not to hold a simple retrospective, and the innovative exhibition design, allow 25 to be a vital network of art. This show makes it clear that a corporate collection is the result of years of personal commitment. And in this case, its gaze is directed forward: after 25 years, the Collection has maintained its youthful curiosity – and the willingness to confront new, not-yet-established and even critical approaches.

Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Untitled, 1991
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c) Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Courtesy Galerie Sprüth/Philomene Magers, Köln

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