Thomas Schütte & Danh Vo

Thomas Schütte & Danh Vo

Kunsthalle Mainz

Thomas Schütte, Vater Staat, 2011. Steel. Courtesy the artist and Konrad Fischer Galerie. Installation view, Kunsthalle Mainz. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013.

July 2, 2013

Thomas Schütte & Danh Vo
Das Reich ohne Mitte (Kingdom without a Middle)

5 July–6 October 2013

Opening: Thursday, 4 July, 7pm

Kunsthalle Mainz
Am Zollhafen 3-5
55118 Mainz, Germany
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm,
Wednesday 10am–9pm, Saturday–Sunday 11am–5pm

T +49 6131/12 69 36
F +49 6131/12 69 37
mail [​at​]

With works by Eduardo Chillida, Thomas Hobbes, Nicolas-André Monsiau, Henry Moore, Otto Muehl, Deimantas Narkevičius, Johannes Schilling, Thomas Schütte, Danh Vo

Statues that serve political communities in the justification of their claims to power—what do they look like?

The exhibition at the Kunsthalle Mainz consists of two parts. On the one hand, it shows independent artistic strategies of the present; on the other hand, it endeavours a historical survey of political self-representation in German art since the nineteenth century.

Germania and Leviathan
The exhibition takes its thematic point of departure in the Niederwalddenkmal. The “Germania,” a massive female figure with a sword and oak leaves erected after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, is situated in Rüdesheim and visible for miles around. In the exhibition, the “guard on the Rhine” is represented by models and historical photographs. Thomas Hobbes’s famous seventeenth-century illustration of “Leviathan” and engravings dating from the French Revolution are also on view.

Henry Moore and Eduardo Chillida
Nineteenth-century patriotism finds its three-dimensional expression in the “Germania.” But how is power depicted in present-day democratic societies? How does the Federal Republic of Germany approach this topic? Part two of the cultural history of large-scale public state art is devoted to the post-war period. In 1979, a work by the English sculptor Henry Moore was erected in the green inner courtyard of the Office of the Federal Chancellor in Bonn; in 2000, a two-part piece by the Basque artist Eduardo Chillida in front of the new chancellery in Berlin. Both sculptures are abstract. The political clients prefer now reductive symbols to circumlocutory narratives.

Thomas Schütte and Danh Vo
In addition to the historical section, contemporary works by Thomas Schütte and Danh Vo are on display. The first room presents Schütte’s Father State of 2011. The four-metre-high sculpture is an impressive counterpart to the “Germania.” The iron statue depicts a man with grim facial features. The third room on the ground floor features forms made from copper sheets, which are displayed on the floor and walls. Danh Vo was born in Vietnam, and grew up in Denmark, and now he is a resident of the UK. He created fragments of the American Statue of Liberty in their original size. The individual parts are displayed on pallets as though ready for transport. The historical Statue of Liberty, which is approximately the same age as the ‘Germania,” was also disassembled and shipped to New York in pieces. These dismembered pieces can represent a kind of homelessness, the scattered ideals of freedom and political self-determination in the age of globalization.

Deimantas Narkevičius and Otto Muehl
In the cinema on the tower level, a video by the Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevičius from 2004 is being screened. A crane lifts a statue of Lenin from its base. Halfway through, the film is reversed. To the cheers of the crowd, Lenin is placed back into office. In 1967, the Austrian action artist Otto Muehl executed a series of silkscreens with portraits of statesmen. They are sarcastic likenesses of such figures as Prince Charles, Moshe Dayan, Konrad Adenauer and others.

Thomas D. Trummer

Fade into You – series of film screenings
View, drink and talk, Wednesdays 7pm
July 17, episode XI: Martha Rosler and Corinna Schnitt
August 7, episode XII: Camille Henrot
August 28 episode XIII: Fiona Tan
September 18 episode XIV: Jochen Kuhn

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Kunsthalle Mainz
July 2, 2013

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