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Baby Blue Wool, Movable Walls
The Deutsche Bank Foundation is sponsoring a large Trockel retrospective in Cologne

Rosemarie Trockel, Stell dir vor, 2002
Private Collection, Cologne, (c)VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2005

"Deutsche Bank is sponsoring menopause" could be the title of this report – because Menopause is actually the title of the large Trockel retrospective in the Museum Ludwig. What might at first sound like a joke demonstrates just how subversively Rosemarie Trockel undermines gender-determined values, roles, and concepts and asserts herself in the male-dominated art establishment. Visitors to the Museum Ludwig are greeted by a ball of wool specially conceived for the large glass wall in the foyer. The work Menopause, which provides the show’s title, consists of thick baby blue wool. The 1953-born artist has been working with wool since the mid-eighties: using computers and knitting machines, she realized her famous large-scale knitting pictures into which she integrated culturally and politically charged symbols such as the hammer and sickle, the swastika, or the Playboy bunny as repetitive ornaments. Social patterns of behavior reveal themselves in Trockel’s knit patterns: the way feminine creativity is made to seem harmless, and the cultural contempt for apparently inferior materials and methods such as wool and knitting.

At the close of the 20th century, Trockel reacted with her own dialectic to the construction and deconstruction of the feminine myths. She has never allowed herself to be pinned down to a single medium or working concept, but has implemented a wide variety of materials such as drawing, object, photography, and installation. Thus, two examples of her "Oven Pictures" from the early nineties can be seen in the Cologne exhibition.

Rosemarie Trockel, RAF (recycled Arnulf Rainer), 2004, (c)VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2005

With a simple gesture, Trockel entered into a correspondence with Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematism and, at the same time, ironically transferred the female domain of cooking into the realm of high art: her "Oven Pictures" are nothing more than black stove plates on a white porcelain background mounted vertically on the wall – a direct reference to Malevich’s ideal form of the circle.

Rosemarie Trockel, Phobia, 2002, (c)VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2005

Another main focus of the exhibition is the group of Moving Walls (2000-2005). These movable architectural aluminum sculptures are imbedded in the artist’s presentation in such as way that they create an array of references to the small objects, multiples, architectural models, and designs for objects and books. This demonstrates how the main paths in Trockel’s work have been inspired and carried out through a meandering of detours. The videos, drawings, and book designs are also important components of the exhibition and have long remained relatively unknown. The Cologne show honors their catalyzing function for Trockel’s overall oeuvre, offering a chance to get to know the Cologne-based artist’s previously unknown aspects in the context of the rest of her work. For Trockel, who is represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection with numerous works, the exhibition at the Ludwig Museum is a home game, albeit a late one. She worked together with the curator Barbara Engelbach for over a year on the conception and realization of the show. Spread out over more than 10,000 square feet, the exhibition offers a view into a unique and inimitable work that has not only made Trockel one of the most internationally important artists of her generation, but also a role model for younger artists of both sexes.

Rosemarie Trockel, Who will be in in '99, 1988
Deutsche Bank Collection, (c)VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2005

Rosemarie Trockel – Menopause
29. Oktober 2005 bis 12. Februar 2006
Museum Ludwig, Köln

Rosemarie Trockel – Menopause
October 29 2005 through February 12 2006
Museum Ludwig, Cologne