September 24, 2020 - Kunstmuseum Stuttgart - WÄNDE I WALLS
September 24, 2020

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart

Felix Schramm, Duo, Fondazione Volume, Rom, 2016. Photo: Knut Kruppa. © Felix Schramm.

September 26, 2020–January 31, 2021

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
Kleiner Schlossplatz 1
70173 Stuttgart
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Friday 10am–9pm

T +49 711 21619600
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The comprehensive exhibition project WÄNDE I WALLS traces the artistic examination of the spatial boundary of walls at three central locations in Stuttgart. While at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart wall works are realized in the interior, the focus at the StadtPalais – Museum für Stuttgart and at the Bonatzbau at Stuttgart’s central station is on graffiti as an artform, which deals primarily with the design of walls in public spaces.

WÄNDE I WALLS takes the wall in its diversity of meanings for the first time as the starting point for an exhibition. The focus is not on wall paintings or the history of wall-bound work in the visual arts. Instead, the exhibition brings together works of art that understand the wall as a cultural product and inquire into its properties as an artistic medium. Early on, artists began to use walls as space-filling image carriers. In the course of the twentieth century, the way we deal with the wall changed; since then, it has no longer been designed primarily from a decorative point of view—that is to say, to embellish existing architecture. Rather, the wall has come to the fore as an independent object of space to be analyzed. In interaction with the increasing awareness of spatial and contextual issues in the 1960s, numerous artists ascribed an aesthetic value to the wall. With selected works from the period of 1966 to 2020, the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart provides an overview of reflected work with the wall.

The exhibition presents thirty works of art, which include wall paintings and drawings, as well as performative, sculptural, and installation-based approaches to the spatial boundary. With their wall works, the artists devote themselves to various themes and emphasize the wide-ranging symbolic charges of the spatial boundary. Several artists focus on the functions of inclusion and exclusion. For example, Yoko Ono’s labyrinth of transparent and mirrored wall surfaces makes it clear that the boundaries between private and public space are less secure and self-chosen than we generally assume. We have clearly experienced this in recent months in our own four walls. The far-reaching consequences of the corona pandemic are also reflected in the individual perception of spaces. Spatial isolation can facilitate deceleration and cohesion, but it can also lead to loneliness, frustration, and violence. Parastou Forouhar’s disturbing wallpaper focuses on this often-tabooed, dark side of the so-called “cozy home,” as does Robert Gober with his drains sunk into the wall, which function as symbols of numerous mechanisms of suppression.

Another focus of the exhibition is the role of the wall in the so-called “white cube.” This is the common form of presentation of modern and contemporary art. The white walls of the exhibition space are relevant to the effect and viewing of works of art. This is particularly evident in those works that declare the white wall to be the actual exhibit, be it the wall removals by Elmgreen & Dragset—for which they meticulously removed layers of white plaster from the exhibition halls of international museums—or the participatory work by Charlotte Posenenske, in which visitors can generate different spaces by moving the two white wall surfaces. With William Anastasi and Sol LeWitt, works by two artists are represented who, in the mid-1960s, were among the first to reflect the wall in its medial properties.

Walls determine our living spaces and play a decisive role in how we localize ourselves within a particular space. The associated identity-forming meaning of the wall in the interplay of subject, object, and space is a further thematic field of the exhibition. Several artists demonstrate the extent to which walls can influence a person’s thinking, moving, and acting by conceiving of the wall as a reactive counterpart. Bruce Nauman’s work Body Pressure (1974) promises visitors an erotic encounter with the wall. In a performance presented in 2005, Emily Katrencik resisted the appropriating power of walls by gradually nibbling her way through them for several weeks. With her installation I Believe in the Skin of Things as in that of Women (1999), Monica Bonvicini refers to the connection between architecture, space, and gender.

In addition to their respective thematic focus, the wall works brought together for the exhibition have in common their focus on spatial experience. They make it clear that—althoug­h we are increasingly moving in digital worlds—it is always the real, surrounding spaces that significantly shape us. The wall always represents a concrete border. At the same time, it stands for separation in a figurative sense and encourages us to think about the many different processes of social demarcation.

Conception of the overall project / curator exhibition WÄNDE I WALLS: Anne Vieth
Curatorial assistant: Elisabeth Kuon

Artists in the exhibition:
Marina Abramović and Ulay, William Anastasi, Mel Bochner, Monica Bonvicini, Daniel Buren, Ernst Caramelle, Maurizio Cattelan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Parastou Forouhar, Robert Gober, Douglas Huebler, Sophie Innmann, Anne Marie Jehle, Emily Katrencik, Joseph Kosuth, Jeewi Lee, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, Brian OʼDoherty, Yoko Ono, Charlotte Posenenske, Klaus Rinke, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Michael Sailstorfer, Martin Bruno Schmid, Felix Schramm, Thomas Schütte, John von Bergen, Lawrence Weiner

In cooperation with StadtPalais – Museum für Stuttgart
Supported by Baden-Württemberg Stiftung


Please check our website for the accompanying program and updates.
For further information please contact: presse [​at​]

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
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