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Drawing a Tension
Works of the Deutsche Bank Collection in Lisbon

For over 50 years, it's been a major force in Portugal's cultural landscape: surrounded by a large sculpture park, the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is situated among the city’s museums in the center of Lisbon. This summer, with "Drawing a Tension," the foundation is presenting works from the Deutsche Bank Collection in Portugal for the first time. These were selected by Jürgen Bock, curator and director of the Maumaus School of Visual Arts in Lisbon.

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon

Premiere on the banks of the Tejo: with the show Drawing a Tension at the Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum, the Deutsche Bank Collection not only begins a new series of exhibitions, it also forges new paths in its selection of artworks. For the first time, the bank has commissioned an external curator with the aim of presenting the collection from an unusual perspective. The choice was made in favor of Jürgen Bock. The curator, art critic, and director of the Escola de Artes Visuais Maumaus, who moved from Germany to Portugal nearly twenty years ago, is considered to be an experienced connoisseur of the art scenes in both countries.

Josef Albers, Studie für eine Hommage an das Quadrat, 1964,
Deutsche Bank Collection

Blinky Palermo, 4 Prototypen, 1970,
Deutsche Bank Collection

Along with works by German art icons such as Joseph Beuys, Martin Kippenberger, Blinky Palermo, and Gerhard Richter, Drawing a Tension also introduces contemporary international positions from the Deutsche Bank Collection like Francis Alÿs, Pedro Barateiro, Louise Bourgeois, Thomas Hirschhorn, Maria Lassnig, Karin Sander, and Atsuko Tanaka to the Portuguese public. According to Bock’s concept, the exhibition, which ranges from masterpieces of Classic Modernism to works of contemporary art, is neither chronologically structured nor classified according to medium, technique, or traditional art historical criteria. Instead, “Drawing a Tension” invites viewers to discover related approaches in works of divergent disciplines, stylistic directions, and countries of origin. The juxtaposition of contradictory positions demonstrates that even works long since part of the annals of art history can rediscover their original explosive power on a political, social, and intellectual level.

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon

Another part of the exhibition concept is to allow the works of art to enter into a dialogue with the museum’s modernist architecture. In the show, the curator combines individual sections , works, and entire exhibition rooms in fascinating ways. The pun in the show's English title, oscillating as it does between "tension" and "attention," appears to be programmatic. "As the works might indeed unleash entirely divergent discussions," Bock concedes well ahead of time that the final arrangement of the works will be decided upon during the actual hanging.

Günther Förg, Barcelona Pavillon (Nr. 2), 1989,
Deutsche Bank Collection

Günther Förg, Bauhaus, 1993,
Deutsche Bank Collection

Some things are already clear at this stage, however: two artists whose works investigate modernism will be present with two different groups of works hanging opposite one another in the exhibition space. Günther Förg with his photographs of modernist architectural icons — the Bauhaus building, Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion, and the residential complexes of Le Corbusier — and Markus Lüpertz, whose paintings and drawings celebrate abstraction as a modernist achievement. Important protagonists of art history will be represented by several works.

Markus Lüpertz, Paletten - Pilz, zu Palette -Dithyrambisch,
Deutsche Bank Collection

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