October 16, 2012 - Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden - BILDERBEDARF. The Civic and the Arts
October 16, 2012

BILDERBEDARF. The Civic and the Arts

Alfredo Jaar, Lament of the Images, 2002. Collection: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek. © 2012: Alfredo Jaar, New York.

BILDERBEDARF. The Civic and the Arts
20 October 2012–17 February 2013

Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
Lichtentaler Allee 8a
76530 Baden-Baden


BILDERBEDARF includes works by Francis Alÿs, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Jeremy Deller, Hans Haacke, Jörg Immendorff, Alfredo Jaar, Käthe Kollwitz, Wolfgang Mattheuer, A. R. Penck, Christoph Schlingensief, Willi Sitte, Klaus Staeck, as well as selected works from René Block’s donation to the Lidice memorial by KP Bremer, Felix Droese, Gotthard Graubner, Rolf Julius, Gerhard Richter, Karin Sander and Stephan Wewerka, and a special section of works by documenta II artists Karel Appel, K. O. Götz, Hann Trier and Gerhard Wendland.

Looking back upon the past sixty years, how and whereby did art have an impact on the civic domain? The exhibition BILDERBEDARF addresses the complex mutual relationship between art and civil society. For it seems that artists have repeatedly initiated, accompanied, and affected social discourses through their works. Showing how art has helped to change and “reformat” our notion of the civic is at the heart of the exhibition BILDERBEDARF. The Civic and the Arts that opens on October 19, 2012 at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.

The artworks that are on display have been selected according to criteria that might at first seem unusual: Our point of interest was the verifiable effect they had in the sphere of the civil society. Correspondingly, the exhibition illustrates how individual works of art have not only been received in terms of their aesthetic quality but have become meaningful symbols in civic society.

A central work of art shown in the exhibition BILDERBEDARF is Gerhard Richter’s painting Onkel Rudi. In 1968, the German curator René Block donated Richter’s painting, amongst others, to the Lidice memorial to commemorate the annihilation of this village by the Nazis. Yet the artworks soon had to be relocated: After the invasion of Soviet troops and the abrupt ending of the Prague Spring in 1968, they disappeared. It was only thirty years later that they were rediscovered and officially given to the municipality of Lidice. Thus, a private initiative has turned into a symbolical act of compensation.

In a more direct manner, Christoph Schlingensief’s project Ausländer Raus! (Foreigners Out!), 2002, has had an effect on civic life. Invited by the Wiener Festwochen, Schlingensief established a container village for immigrants. In the style of popular TV shows like Big Brother, people voted for the eviction of participants.  Schlingensief’s project coincides with the ruling of the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) under the aegis of Jörg Haider. This staged deportation was broadly covered by the media and evoked lively public debates.

Richter’s painting and Schlingensief’s happening are only two of many more examples of the exhibition BILDERBEDARF, tracing the impact of art on public discourse. A poetic contribution to support this claim is made by Francis Alÿs’s installation When Faith Moves Mountains, 2002. For this project in Lima, he found more than 500 volunteers who helped to literally move a mountain—equipped with nothing but shovels and goodwill. This powerful as much as seemingly ineffective act serves as a parable for the utopian aim of the exhibition.

In October 2013 a follow-up exhibition will focus on the relevance of art for public discourse in the globalized civil society of the 21st century.

The exhibition is curated by Johan Holten together with Hendrik Bündge and Jakob Racek.

An exhibition catalogue with texts by Johan Holten, Hendrik Bündge, Regine Ehleiter, Jakob Racek, Dirk Teuber, Wolfgang Ullrich und Christoph Zuschlag is published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne. 24 Euro.

PRESS CONTACT: Dr. Dirk Teuber, Eva Hepper: +49 (0) 7221 30076404;
presse [​at​] kunsthalle-baden-baden.de.

Kindly supported by the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.



Baden-Baden: BILDERBEDARF. The Civic and the Arts
Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
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