November 9, 2016 - Kunsthalle Mannheim - Fritz Schwegler
November 9, 2016

Kunsthalle Mannheim

Fritz Schwegler, Olympic Figure Skater (EN 2976) from the series "1000 Need Changing Pieces," 1990-99. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016. Photo: Frank Kleinbach.

Fritz Schwegler
November 11, 2016–January 8, 2017

Opening: November 10, 7–9pm

Kunsthalle Mannheim
Friedrichsplatz 4
68165 Mannheim

T +49 621 2936423

Fritz Schwegler (1935–2014) is the insider‘s tip of post-war German art history. The sculptor, poet, painter, and musician was an influential leader of a whole generation of younger artists. Born in the Swabian town of Breech near Göppingen in 1935, he was trained as a carpenter and travelled the world as a journeyman. From 1973 to 2001, Schwegler was a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He had a strong impact on artists such as Thomas Schütte, Katharina Fritsch, Gregor Schneider and Thomas Demand.

Schwegler drew meaning from his immediate surroundings—always highly focused and always oscillating between word and image. He created a unique cosmos, in which the everyday turns into a universe of curiosities brimming with artistic energy: farming tools and domestic objects, his own imagery, sketchbooks, collecting cabinets, colored canvases, bronze sculptures, ballads and story-telling. Schwegler created places and rooms full of wonderful encounters and surprising ideas in orchards, power-stations and small kiosks.

Schwegler’s oeuvre is based on his "Urnotizen." These “primal notes” are ideas and inspirations that Schwegler swiftly jotted down on paper in images or words from 1962 onwards. He numbered the notes and collected them in lever arch files, always 100 notes per folder. Schwegler derived his life-long working program and the hierarchy of his artistic output from this rapidly growing system of "Urnotizen." Every single work can be traced back to an "Urnotiz," regardless of the time of its creation or the medium, be it sculpture, painting, drawing, a call for action, performance or film.

The exhibition at Kunsthalle Mannheim presents major works from all stages of Schwegler’s career: early sculptures tremendously varied in shape and form, resonating with his apprenticeship as a carpenter, his avant-garde phase of conceptual and performance art in the 1970s and 1980s, his creations as poet and painter, the return to sculpture in 1990 as well as the last important group of works, the "Notwandlungsstücke" (“distress modifying pieces”) and his wax works.

Central to Schwegler’s oeuvre are the approximately 600 "Effeschiaden" (1969–74), based on the pronounciation of his own initials “F” and “Sch." An Effeschiade combines a colored sketch and a so-called “sculpture-text." Together they form a call for action to the artist or others. Like Beuys, Schwegler wanted his ideas to disseminate, not his role as an author, not his completed work. Schwegler also experimented with film. Despite not owning a TV-set, he shot short subjects for television. They convey to large extend sculptural action. The Mannheim exhibition gives insights into the "Effeschiaden" and Schwegler’s presentations via photographs, films and audio-recordings.

The show at the Kunsthalle Mannheim—with Schwegler’s early work of the 1960s and 1970s in particular focus—is curated by Dr. Ulrike Lorenz and Stephanie Regenbrecht, MA. The exhibition is a co-operation with the bequest foundation Das unbewegliche Theater. Stiftung Fritz Schwegler und Hildegard Schöneck-Schwegler and will take shape as a Gesamtkunstwerk.

A richly illustrated catalogue published by Hatje Cantz will accompany the exhibition, featuring a black-and-white essay by Barbara Klemm and texts by Peter Handke, Walther Grasskamp, Wolfgang Ullrich, Heinz-Norbert Jocks and Ulrike Lorenz.

Kunsthalle Mannheim
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