memories of the future: the olbricht collection

memories of the future: the olbricht collection

La Maison Rouge

Jean-Luc Moerman, “sans titre (le Suicide de Lucrèce, 1535, Lucas Cranach),” 2009.

October 24, 2011

memories of the future
the olbricht collection
22 October 2011–15 January 2012

10 bd de la bastille
75012 Paris, France

The Olbricht collection, major collection in Germany, comprises in excess of more than 2,500 works, a selection of which is on show at me Collectors Room, Berlin. This is the first time the collection has travelled to France.

The Olbricht collection is remarkable for its scope, as it covers a period of five hundred years from the 16th to the 21st centuries and takes in a huge diversity of media and genres, from engravings by Albrecht Dürer, Martin Schongauer and Francisco de Goya to others by the Chapman brothers; from photographs by Robert Capa to prints by Cindy Sherman and Vic Muniz; from paintings of the Flemish and Italian schools to the work of Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Allan McCollum; from Renaissance ivory statuettes to bronzes by Thomas Schütte and wax sculptures by Berlinde de Bruyckere.

Thomas Olbricht’s journey through the history of art is guided by powerful themes. They inform his choices, run throughout the collection, and connect the works despite their different eras, media and statuses. Death and its representation, vanity, religious faith, war, the fragility and beauty of the female body, and artists’ renderings of the strange and the marvelous, make this a unique and highly disconcerting collection. One of its most striking objects is the reconstruction of a Kunst- und Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities). A Renaissance precursor to the Western concept of the museum, these cabinets are a collection of objects intended to further wonderment and knowledge, and an attempt to understand the world and how art, nature and science interrelate.

In Olbricht’s Wunderkammer, organic and mineral matter, intricate miniature anatomical models, unusual measuring and surgical instruments juxtapose artworks, particularly Memento Mori. The skulls and skeletons made indifferently from ivory, walnut shells, wood or coral, whose essential purpose, above and beyond their artistic prowess, is to remind Man of his mortality.

For the past twenty years, Thomas Olbricht has been compiling a collection of contemporary international art which he shows alongside this historic collection. Thomas Olbricht’s eclectic choices are guided solely by his insatiable passion for art. He brings artists, which history and sometimes the market have acknowledged, together with little-known young artists from around the world. Profoundly post-post-modern, narrative and figurative for the most part, these young artists view the art of centuries past with curiosity, willingly drawing inspiration from, and measuring themselves against, their masters.

Works by artists whose diverse positions elicit ruptures and tensions, ranging from Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke to Franz Gertsch, John Currin, Daniel Richter, together with representatives of the very young generation such as Jonas Burgert, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz or Richard Wathen, will introduce the public to contemporary painting that is rarely seen in France. The exhibition will also include installations and sculptures (Jake and Dinos Chapman, Bertozzi and Casoni, Katerina Fritsch) and historic and contemporary photography (Robert Capa, Nicholas Nixon, Désirée Dolron, Mat Collishaw). All these works illustrate the themes that define the Olbricht collection.

Curator of the exhibition: Wolfgang Schoppmann
Curator for the Wunderkammer Olbricht: Georg Laue

*The exhibition takes its name from Laurent Grasso’s Memories of the Future (2010), one of the works in the Olbricht collection.

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La Maison Rouge
October 24, 2011

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