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

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A Collection with a View:
Ariane Grigoteit on the "25" exhibition in the Deutsche Guggenheim

Dr. Ariane Grigoteit has directed the Deutsche Bank Collection for nearly two decades. As curator of the "25" exhibition in the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the collection, she has invited prominent individuals who have accompanied the bank's art program through the years to present their very personal perspectives on a quarter century of art and company history. In this interview she elucidates the unusual concept behind the exhibition and explains why art is at the heart of the bank — and can be a challenge to many that encounter it.

Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, 2005,
Foto: Lee Mawdsley, London

The Deutsche Bank Collection is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a series of events that include the jubilee exhibition "25". What awaits visitors to the Deutsche Guggenheim?
Exhibition design: Atrium at Deutsche Guggenheim,
Photo: Mathias Schormann

Exhibition hall, Photo: Mathias Schormann

They will probably be surprised first of all, because the spectacularly designed exhibition architecture extends the exhibition hall into the adjoining premises. Our art has been "in the workplace" for the past 25 years, and this is precisely how this selection of works is being presented: the biggest corporate collection in the world is being shown in a single comprehensive museum presentation, together with its history, its impact on the world of art, and its significance for the people who have shared and shaped its life. We have traced its origins, and we have asked why a financial institution such as the Deutsche Bank should have begun to invest in art in the first place. We have asked friends and individuals who have accompanied the bank's art program through the years to talk about the collection, and we have invited 25 godparents to present their personal perspective on the collection through their choice of outstanding works from its ranks. In the course of the past 25 years, selections from the Deutsche Bank Collection have indeed been shown around the world in travelling and thematic exhibitions, in the form of loans to museums, and through guided tours in the bank's international offices. But never before has such a comprehensive and at the same time personal perspective on the bank's art—on the very essence of the collection—been shown.

Beat Streuli, New York 01, 2002
Deutsche Bank Collection,
©Beat Streuli, Courtesy Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

25 years, 25 friends—that sounds very symbolic.
"Symbolic" is perhaps not the right term here. If you include the Curator's Choice and Zaha Hadid's architecture, the exhibition actually comprises 27 perspectives in all — over 300 works by more than 140 artists. And the 25 godparents—whose number is admittedly inspired by the anniversary year — have all in very special ways left their mark on the bank's art and cultural activities. Thus not only museum directors, international curators, gallery owners, art collectors and advisors to the collection of many years' standing but also directors of the Deutsche Bank have been asked to make a selection. After Herbert Zapp, those who have been responsible for art in the bank have included Hilmar Kopper, Rolf-E. Breuer, and today Tessen von Heydebreck. They have all commented on their selections with characteristic individuality.

Anish Kapoor, Turning the World Upside Down III, 1996,
Deutsche Bank Collection, © Anish Kapoor, Courtesy Lisson Gallery

Thus the number 25 is if anything symbolic of the exhibition's democratic character — also manifested by the very individual and at the same time highly characteristic selections of the board members. We ourselves see our commitment to art as something that is both democratic and inseparable from our social and personal commitment. And the idea behind "Art at Work", which is to make the bank's collection accessible to our staff members and visitors, is an expression of this commitment. Naturally, debates over content and controversial positions are all a part of this process. For art is indeed uncomfortable — refusing as it does to fit into neat categories. It demands a willingness to dare something new. Our commitment to art cannot hope to suit all tastes. This is true both of art within the bank and of the exhibitions in the Deutsche Guggenheim. While exhibitions of artists such as Kasimir Malevich, Bill Viola, and recently Jackson Pollock attract huge numbers of visitors, it must also be possible to show artists such as the young Japanese photographer Miwa Yanagi, whose art has been a revelation not only in Europe.

Miwa Yanagi, Untitled, 2004,
Deutsche Bank Collection,
©Miwa Yanagi

Àpropos "within the bank": the collection's special characteristic is that it does not function like a traditional museum or art gallery. It has to assert itself in the work place too. How is this fact reflected in the exhibition?

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