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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Saatchi Gallery Presents "Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany"


The Saatchi Gallery Presents "Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany"

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artwork: Gert & Uwe Tobias - "Untitled", 2007 - Coloured woodcut on papers mounted on canvas - 268 x 401.7 cm. - Courtesy the Saatchi Gallery, London © Gert & Uwe Tobias. -  On view in "Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany" from November 18th until April 30th 2012.

London.- On 18th November, the Saatchi Gallery will open "Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany", the gallery’s first survey of German art. The exhibition, which presents artists from or based in Germany (including Berlin, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Bremen and Cologne), confirms Germany’s position as a powerhouse of European contemporary art. "Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany" showcases 24 artists, most of whom have been little seen in the UK, but are rapidly establishing themselves in Germany  and internationally. Their work, including sculpture, painting, drawing and installation, ranges from the grotesque and macabre to the lyrical and surreal, reflecting the diversity of German art now. The exhibition will remain on display through April 30th 2012.


Perhaps best known for its Wagnerian associations, the word ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ can be translated as a total, ideal or universal work of art, or as a synthesis of different art forms into one all-embracing unique genre. As such, many works in this exhibition reflect on the boundaries of art, in terms of our perception of it and its relationship to other disciplines. If their work points to a new kind of Gesamtkunstwerk it is one in which high and low culture, the avantgarde and the historical, the everyday and everything in between can co-exist.

Running through the exhibition is an inherent reference to another quasi-Gesamtkunstwerk: the baggage of postwar German visual culture and the work of earlier generations of German artists, from the Expressionists to Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Rosemarie Trockel, Gerhard Richter and Franz West, with whom many of the artists in this exhibition seem to be in conversation. "Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany" features a selection of works by Dirk Bell, Alexandra Bircken, André Butzer, Zhivago Duncan, Ida Ekblad, Max Frisinger,  Isa Genzken, Felix Gmelin, Jeppe Hein, Thomas Helbig, Georg Herold, Volker Hueller, Thomas Kiesewetter, Jutta Koether, Friedrich Kunath, Stefan Kürten, Josephine Meckseper, Kirstine Roepstorff, Markus Selg, Gert and Uwe Tobias, Corinne Wasmuht, Andro Wekua and Thomas Zipp.

artwork: Georg Herold - "Untitled", 2010 - Batten, canvas, lacquer, thread and screws - 120 x 420 x 165 cm. Courtesy the Saatchi Gallery, London - © Georg Herold. - On view until April 30th 2012.

In October 2008, the Saatchi Gallery re-opened in the 70,000 sq. ft Duke of York’s HQ building on King’s Road in the heart of London. With free admission to all shows, the Saatchi Gallery aims to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible. The Saatchi Gallery aims to provide an innovative forum for contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists or by international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the UK. The audience for exhibitions of contemporary art has increased widely during the recent years as general awareness and interest in contemporary art has developed both in Britain and abroad. When the Saatchi Gallery first opened over twenty five years ago it was only those who had a dedicated interest in contemporary art who sought out the gallery to see work by new artists. The audience, however, built steadily over the years and by the time the gallery left its second home at County Hall, visitor numbers reached 600,000 per annum, with over 1,000 schools organising student visits. The Saatchi Gallery has worked with media sponsors on a number of shows including The Observer, The Sunday Times, Evening Standard, The Independent on Sunday and Time Out. Many artists showing at The Saatchi Gallery are unknown when first exhibited, not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world. Many of these artists are subsequently offered shows by galleries and museums internationally. In this effect, the gallery also operates as a springboard for young artists to launch their careers. The Saatchi Gallery has hosted five of the top six most visited exhibitions in London during the last two years in the Art Newspaper’s museum attendance surveys. Visit the gallery's website at ... www.saatchigallery.com

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