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Over the Alps:
From Munich to Venice

Surrealist dolls and antique statues in the Kunstareal in Munich; Concrete Art and a billionaire’s contemporary collection in Venetian palaces: all that and much, much more can be had during a trip over the Alps.

The departure point for our summer trip to Venice is Munich. Before embarking on our journey over the Alps, however, it’s worth spending a few days here to enjoy the wide range of art the Bavarian capital has to offer.

Visitors in front of the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich
©Pinakothek der Moderne, Photo: Haydar Koyupinar

Our first excursion is to the Pinakothek der Moderne, where Hans Bellmer’s surreal, monstrously erotic puppets are on show this summer, among other things. Not least in opposition to the Aryan body cult of the Nazis, Bellmer created his deformed and mutilated dolls with swollen sexual organs from papier mâché, plaster, and metal, drew and photographed them, and then colored the photographs. On the one hand, the dolls earned him vicious slander and later internment; on the other, they opened the doors to the Parisian Surrealists surrounding André Breton, who enthusiastically admitted him into their circle. Bellmer was educated as a graphic designer; in 1935, he took part in the large Surrealism show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and in 1938 he finally emigrated to Paris.

Hans Bellmer "Céphalopode 1900", 1939/1949
Private Collection, Switzerland

Hans Bellmer "La Poupée Poupée", 1935-36
Centre Georges Pompidou,
Musée national d' Art moderne, Paris

In addition to its pinacothecas and the Lenbachhaus, Munich’s art section harbors another special treasure: in the Glyptothek is a breathtakingly beautiful presentation of the antique statues King Ludwig I. collected in Italy and Greece, at the center of which is the Barberinian Faun. But there’s also much to discover beyond Munich’s central art attractions. Bogenhausen, east of the Isar, is home to the museum built in 1993 by the architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron for the private collection of Ingvild Goetz. "I always collect the younger generation, on principle," asserts the former gallery dealer. Currently on show are works by the video artists and art photographers the multimedia exhibition rooms on the museum’s lower level were built for.

Wassily Kandinsky, "Studie für Murnau mit Kirche II", 1910, Private Collection

We’d also like to recommend a trip to Murnau in Upper Bavaria, where the Expressionist painters’ group The Blue Rider spent their summers in the "Russian Villa" from 1911 to 1913. In a refreshingly unpretentious way, the Schlossmuseum presents works by world-famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, and Alexej von Jawlensky. The museum focuses on the theme "The Landscape around Murnau" and exhibits geological finds and the city’s history alongside the masterpieces of its former inhabitants. Afterwards, visitors are free to explore the moors and lakes Münter painted and to discover the very expressive colors in nature that make her paintings so remarkable.

Gabriele Münter "Murnau 1910", (c) Schloßmuseum Murnau

And on the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, Salzburg has more to offer than this very distinguished birthday. In the new building of Salzburg’s Museum der Moderne on the Mönchsberg, the exhibition Black Box/Chambre Noire by the South African artist William Kentridge can be seen. Commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim, Black Box/Chambre Noire investigates the 1904 massacre of the Herero tribe in Southwest Africa carried out by the German colonial army.

William Kentridge, Untitled,
(drawing for Black Box/Chambre Noire), 2005
Photo: John Hodgkiss Deutsche Guggenheim, © William Kentridge

Kentridge’s films are animations made from his charcoal and pastel drawings, which he alters, erases, and redraws in an ongoing process. The work consists of a mechanical miniature theater, animation films, charcoal drawings, and plastic elements; apart from the massacre itself, it also addresses the process of coming to terms with guilt.

Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Photo Werner Reichel, 2004

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