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Encounters within a Collection
"Blind Date" in Passau

New Acquisitions to the Deutsche Bank Collection at the Museum Moderne Kunst – Wörlen Foundation Surprising rendezvous, unusual combinations – the exhibition series Blind Date combines the latest acquisitions for the Deutsche Bank Collection with highlights that have long since been part of the largest corporate collection worldwide. After its successful premiere in Seligenstadt, the show can now be seen at the Museum Moderne Kunst in Passau.

Takashi Murakami,Smooth Nightmare Drawing, 2000, © 2000
Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved,
Courtesy Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
Deutsche Bank Collection

With the exhibition series Blind Date, recent acquisitions are being presented publicly for the first time in the history of the Deutsche Bank Collection in unconventional couplings with some of the collection’s highlights. The opening show of the exhibition series in the city of Seligenstadt in Hessen was already a great success. In the early summer, works of over 80 artists were juxtaposed here for more than six weeks, initiating a dialogue between generations, art movements, concepts, and styles. The baroque ensemble of the former Benedictine cloister in a city full of latticework architecture provided a spectacular backdrop for the show.

Bernhard Martin, Aire de je t'embrasse, 2004,
©Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg/Paris,
Deutsche Bank Collection

After this premiere drew a record number of visitors, there will now, through December 3, 2006, be another opportunity to see the surprising rendezvous between artists and works from the collection in a historical setting – this time in Passau. The Baroque Bavarian city on the Austrian border was chosen to be the second stopover on the exhibition tour. Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, Global Head of Deutsche Bank Art, deliberately selected locations far from the usual art centers to venture a unique experiment in which contemporary art, historical architecture, and the history of a collection enter into an unusual symbiosis for a period of time.

Astrid Klein,
On the contrary, it must prepare itself for a cessation of
experience and return to ordinariness, 2002,
Deutsche Bank Collection,
©Produzentengalerie Hamburg

In Passau, the show is presented in the Museum Moderner Kunst – Stiftung Wörlen, which has earned considerable esteem all around Europe with its exhibitions of the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since 1990, the museum has been housed in a building from the 16th century that counts among Passau’s most beautiful landmarks. The picturesque old city on the peninsula where the Danube meets the Inn provides an ideal ambience for continuing the pioneering experiment Blind Date.

Ellen Gallagher, from the series "DeLuxe", 2005,
Deutsche Bank Collection,
©Ellen Gallagher,
Courtesy the artist / Hauser & Wirth Zürich London

In the exhibition, which combines the works of over 50 artists, world concepts and lifestyles collide and affect one another across temporal and spatial boundaries, asking: How have we lived? How do we live? How do we want to live? This can particularly be seen in the work of the young African American artist Ellen Gallagher as she encounters the Minimalist works of Eva Hesse. Gallagher’s 60-part series DeLuxe is installed in glass cases, the images are based on ads from African American magazines like Ebony, a successful lifestyle magazine that was developed in 1945 especially for the African American market. Ebony was the first magazine to portray black models snuggling up to cars, using special hair products, or sipping soft drinks. Gallagher’s works are characterized by sly interventions, such as the googly eyes and wigs of silly putty that she adorns the ads with. Her ornamental visual commentaries question the past and infiltrate the role models the ads propagate.

Eva Hesse, untitled, 1961,
©The Estate of Eva Hesse. Hauser & Wirth Zürich London,
Deutsche Bank Collection

If the interplay between the works and the architecture occasionally brings another dynamics into the arranged artist pairs, then it’s entirely in the spirit of the exhibition – because blind dates are encounters that can also turn out to be somewhat tense. For instance when the cool, almost abstract drawings of Wilhelm Sasnal encounter Raymond Pettibon’s works on paper, which quote motifs from comics and pop culture. Or in the juxtaposition of Martin Kippenberger’s caricature-like drawings on hotel paper and Hanne Darboven’s austere grids on graph paper. An artist combination that brings to fore properties in each that are otherwise frequently overlooked: a systematic side to Kippenberger and expressive tendencies in the case of Darboven.

Exhibition view Blind Date Passau

But humorous connections can also be discovered. For instance when Blind Date pairs watercolors by Claudia and Julia Müller with paper works by Sigmar Polke. The two sisters "sample" images of St. Anthony from the paintings of old Dutch masters, while Polke uses motifs culled from the funny pages of old newspapers. The interchangeability of cultural signs and the confusion in terms resulting from this offers the artists plenty of material for their humorous improvisations.

Exhibition view with works by Frauke Eigen (on the left)
and Paul Morrison (on the right)

But Blind Date also makes encounters between artists possible that never could have met due to their age. Thus, the abstract photographic works of Markus Amm meet the photograms of László Moholy-Nagy. Three photographs by the Bauhaus classic can be seen in Seligenstadt that demonstrate his preference for unusual image crops. Photographed from a bird’s-eye view, the dominant diagonals in his city images give rise to abstract compositions. Markus Schinwald is, like his "rendezvous" Oskar Schlemmer, interested in a crossover synthesis of art, dance, theater, and film. In Schinwald’s 16-part photo work Diarios (to you), modernist architecture serves as a background for his mysterious figures. In many of his works, the Austrian plays with masks, costumes, and precisely choreographed bodily movements – an interest that he shares with the creator of the Triadic Ballet.

Markus Schinwald, Diarios (to you), 2003,
Deutsche Bank Collection,
©Markus Schinwald, Courtesy: Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Wien

Whether it’s Marlene Dumas meeting Kara Walker or Kiki Smith meeting James Lee Byars, the show’s unusual combinations make for some inspiring dialogues that the viewer can continue on his or her own. Thus, Blind Date carries on in the tradition of 25 and Tokyo Blossoms, the anniversary exhibitions of the Deutsche Bank Collection. In Berlin and Tokyo, there was a departure from a conventional chronological or purely art historical presentation, while in Seligenstadt and Passau, the Deutsche Bank Collection proves to be an organically growing art network whose individual works are linked by a variety of references. And just how pioneering this approach really is can be seen in the exhibition Affinities at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin starting in April 2007. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the exhibition hall at Unter den Linden, the joint venture between Deutsche Bank and the Guggenheim Foundation will be celebrated in a unique way. This year’s new acquisitions to the Deutsche Bank Collection will be juxtaposed with highlights from the Guggenheim Collection – as a "blind date" arranged by Thomas Krens, the prominent director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

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