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Ai Weiwei, Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Struth et al.

Stage of Being (group show)
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar
9 December 2017 - 13 May 2018

Who are we? Where do we come from? What are we doing here? Where are we going?

We live in a world of progress: we know more and are capable of more, we live longer than ever before; maybe one day we will even achieve immortality. At the same time, we humans struggle with feelings of emptiness, loneliness and fear. Once, religion and ideology provided guidance and assuaged our doubts. Nowadays, we rely on self-help books, doctors, philosophers and coaches – but above all, on ourselves.

Artists in particular dare to face down the fundamental questions of existence. In fact: the very essence of art might be found in diffusing that existential, human fear. Art can hold up a mirror to mankind. This mirror is sometimes quite direct, raw and confrontational. And sometimes indirect, enshrouded in layers of meaning.

Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar


Additional:

Ai Weiwei

Everything is art. Everything is politics (solo show)
Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf
Mid-May - 1 September 2019


Ai Weiwei

Unbroken (solo show)
The Gardiner Museum, Toronto
28 February - 9 June 2019

Ai Weiwei is one of the world’s most influential living artists and human rights activists, known for smashing conventions—and pottery—with iconic works like Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995) that upend the cultural traditions and materials of his native China. While his work includes sculpture, installation, photography, film, performance, and architecture, ceramics occupies a singular place in his practice.

Ai Weiwei: Unbroken explores the breaking of boundaries, both physical and symbolic, and considers how the artist’s ceramic works form a basis for his ongoing exploration of social justice themes, including immigration and the repression of dissent.

The exhibition features some of Ai’s most celebrated works, displayed in Toronto for the first time, including Sunflower Seeds (2010) and Han Dynasty Urn with Coca Cola Logo (2015), as well as brand new work.

The Gardiner Museum, Toronto


Thomas Struth

Titian and the Renaissance in Venice (group show)
Städel Museum, Frankfurt
13 February – 26 May 2019

Thomas Struth, Galleria dell’Accademia 1, Venedig 1992, 1992 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Galleria dell’Accademia 1, Venedig 1992, 1992 © Thomas Struth

In the spring of 2019, the Städel Museum will devote itself to one of the most momentous chapters in the history of European art: Venetian Renaissance painting. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the artists of the lagoon city – first and foremost the young Titian (ca. 1488/90–1576) – developed an independent strain of the Renaissance relying on purely painterly means and the impact of light and colour. This new approach caused a sensation in Venice, and its exponents were soon spreading the innovations outside the city republic as well. In the 1540s, yet another highly talented young generation – now embodied by Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese – came on the scene to vie for commissions in Venice.

In its various sections the exhibition introduces selected characteristic aspects of Venetian painting from the sixteenth century – for example the atmospherically charged landscape depictions that heralded landscape painting as a genre in its own right, the ideal likenesses of beautiful women (“Belle Donne”), or the importance of colour for the art of the Venetians. With more than a hundred masterworks from international collections, the show is the first in Germany to present a first-rate, thematically structured panorama of Venetian Renaissance painting.

The large-scale exhibition features more than twenty examples by Titian alone – the figure who held the key position in the Venetian art scene all his life – and thus the most extensive selection of his works ever before on display in Germany. It also presents works by Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1435–1516), Jacopo Palma il Vecchio (1479/80–1528), Sebastiano del Piombo (ca. 1485–1547), Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1480–1556/57), Jacopo Tintoretto (ca. 1518/19–1594) and Paolo Veronese (1528–1588). The exhibition offers comprehensive insights into the artistic and thematic spectrum of the Renaissance in Venice and elucidates why so many widely differing artists of later centuries looked back to works of this period again and again for orientation.

Städel Museum, Frankfurt


Thomas Struth

Nature & Politics (solo show)
MAST Foundation, Bologna
1 February - 28 April 2019

Thomas Struth, Sorghum, Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis 2017, 2017 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Sorghum, Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis 2017, 2017 © Thomas Struth

Ai Weiwei

CHINESE WHISPERS: Recent Art from the Sigg Collection (group show)
MAK, Vienna
30 January - 26 May 2019

Ai Weiwei, Descending Light With a Missing Circle, 2017 © Studio Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei, Descending Light With a Missing Circle, 2017 © Studio Ai Weiwei

With CHINESE WHISPERS: Recent Art from the Sigg Collection a comprehensive exhibition on Chinese contemporary art is coming to Vienna. Uli Sigg has been following the development of contemporary art in China since the late 1970s. In the mid-1990s, he started putting together the world’s most significant and representative collection of Chinese art. A business journalist, entrepreneur, and Swiss ambassador to China, North Korea, and Mongolia (1995–1998), he had the chance to take a look behind the scenes of the social and economic developments dedicated to both tradition and the future, as China’s vision of a new Silk Road shows. Cultural and sociopolitical values form the frame of reference of the MAK exhibition. The museum creates a discursive platform by contrasting works from the Sigg Collection with objects from the MAK Collection. This interplay highlights China’s contemporary art production as well as its aesthetic or iconographic references. The historical object becomes a vision machine for the contemporary.

MAK, Vienna


Rineke Dijkstra

Picasso, a Period of Conflict (group show)
Carré d'Art, Nîmes
24 October 2018 - 3 March 2019

Rineke Dijkstra, I See a Woman Crying, 2009 (film still) © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, I See a Woman Crying, 2009 (film still) © Rineke Dijkstra

For the exhibition at the Carré d’Art, the Musée Picasso has consented to an exceptional loan of thirty-seven works. The choice for the Carré d’Art fell upon the creations of Picasso during the agitated political period of the Second World War through to his remarkable 1951 painting, Massacre in Korea. Ever since 1937, with the creation of Guernica, Picasso experienced a period of political commitment during which he lost all hope of seeing a free Spain. These troubled times were reflected in most of the subjects – portraits, still lifes, landscapes – which he treated over the course of these years. Violence is brilliantly portrayed in La Suppliante (1937), as well as in the many portraits of Dora Maar, in which it plays a vital part. It is also present in the Weeping Woman series or Cat Catching a Bird.

The exhibition also attempts to initiate a dialogue between Picasso’s works and those of contemporary artists. There is, on the one hand, in the very heart of the space dedicated to Picasso, the presence of artists who provide perspectives on his work. Also, in parallel, the exhibition Lignes de Fuite (Vanishing Points) presents artists of different backgrounds who are directly concerned by the conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Carré d'Art, Nîmes


Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra / Nan Goldin / Sheila Hicks (solo presentation)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
20 October 2018 - 21 January 2019

Rineke Dijkstra, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, June 19, 2005, 2005 © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, June 19, 2005, 2005 © Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra (Dutch, b. 1959) is known for her intimate photographs that capture subjects in moments of change and transition. Subtle, yet revealing poses and a sense of vulnerability are hallmarks of her portraiture. This presentation brings together seven full-length portraits from the Park series, for which Dijkstra photographed children in major urban parks around the globe in dialogue with the captivating video portrait Marianna (The Fairy Doll) from 2014.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Rineke Dijkstra

Ecstasy (group show)
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart
29 September 2018 - 24 February 2019

Rineke Dijkstra, The Krazyhouse (Megan, Simon, Nicky, Philip, Dee), Liverpool, UK, 2009, video still, 2009 © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, The Krazyhouse (Megan, Simon, Nicky, Philip, Dee), Liverpool, UK, 2009, video still, 2009 © Rineke Dijkstra

Ecstasy is one of the oldest and one of the most astounding phenomena of European and non-European cultures. Originally forged in the context of religion and ritual, the transcendental experience of ecstasy was first conceptualized in antiquity. It has been an integral part of Western social theories ever since, even as its definition and social significance have been continually modified and expanded. In indigenous cultural spaces, ecstasy generally bears positive connotations and is experienced within the context of ritual acts, but it was and is often perceived as threatening in societies dominated by industrialization, capitalism, and globalization. Here ecstasy means loss of control, and it harbors the danger of an individual or an entire collective deviating from the norm. Exceptions are transcendental experiences within religious contexts or profane ecstasies, as may be observed during sporting events, concerts, or politically motivated activities.
In its cultural significance and complexity, ecstasy also entered the visual arts and engaged in extraordinary alliances with the related disciplines of music and dance.

Beginning in the fall of 2018, the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart will, for the first time, trace these and other connections as it dedicates itself to the phenomenon of ecstasy in a large thematic exhibition. Drawing from paradigmatic examples from antiquity to the present, the exhibition illuminates the various spiritual, political, psychological, social, sexual, and aesthetic implications of euphoric and intoxicated states between asceticism and excess.

In approximately ten thematic rooms, the visitor will become familiar with the various faces of
ecstasy and with the shifting social significance of mind-altering states as it changed over the
centuries. In so doing, it will also consider how different cultural spheres handle the phenomenon of ecstasy. With art at its foundation, the exhibition will introduce the viewer to the various ways that artists have approached ecstatic states—from pictorial representations to video and installation works to kinesthetic experiences. The visitor may therefore not only comprehend but also experience the relevance and historical development of ecstasy. Music plays a central role here, as it unifies transcendental experience in all cultures. Rhythmic sounds, repetitive movements, and visual stimuli prepare the groundwork for reaching a state of »being beside oneself.«

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart


Rineke Dijkstra

Many & Beautiful Things (group show)
Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Newlyn
29 September 2018 - 5 January 2019

Many & Beautiful Things is concerned with that time in youth when anything is possible, everything is ahead of you, and life is a rush for new experiences. Of course, there may be inner anguishes, but still there’s an abandon, a thirst – before it inevitably leaves, usually gradually, sometimes suddenly. Many & Beautiful Things is as much about those points when things change, as it is about a mind-set that it won’t. And perhaps a nostalgia for more innocent times.

Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Newlyn


Ai Weiwei

Life Cycle (solo show)
Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
28 September 2018 - 3 March 2019

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds (detail), 2010 © Studio Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds (detail), 2010 © Studio Ai Weiwei

Marciano Art Foundation is pleased to announce the next MAF Project, a solo exhibition of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, on view from September 28, 2018 - March 3, 2019. This exhibition is Ai’s first major institutional exhibition in Los Angeles and will feature the new and unseen work Life Cycle (2018) – a sculptural response to the global refugee crisis. The exhibition will also present iconic installations Sunflower Seeds (2010) and Spouts (2015) within the Foundation’s Theater Gallery.

“We are honored and thrilled to be able to host Ai Weiwei’s first institutional presentation in Los Angeles says Maurice Marciano, founder of Marciano Art Foundation. "Ai Weiwei's long history as a thoughtful, engaged, and provocative artist falls directly in line with the goals of the Foundation. We are so thrilled to be a part of his big moment happening in our city this fall."

On view for the first time in the Black Box, Life Cycle (2018) references the artist’s 2017 monumental sculpture Law of the Journey, Ai’s response to the global refugee crisis, which used inflatable, black PVC rubber to depict the makeshift boats used to reach Europe. In this new iteration, Life Cycle depicts an inflatable boat through the technique used in traditional Chinese kite-making, exchanging the PVC rubber for bamboo.
Suspended around the boat installation are figures crafted from bamboo and silk. In 2015, Ai began creating these figures based on mythic creatures from the Shanhaijing, or Classic of Mountains and Seas. The classic Chinese text compiles mythic geography and myth; versions of the Shanhaijing have existed since the 4th century B.C. These works are crafted in Weifang, a Chinese city in Shandong province with a tradition of kite-making dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

Windows (2015), which hangs along the perimeter of the Black Box, draws from Chinese mythology, the tales and illustrations of the Shanhaijing, the history of 20th-century art, and the life and works of the artist. The vignettes feature a dense mix of biographical, mythological, and art historical references to craft a contemporary story. Similar to chapters in a book, or acts in a play, the various scenes include the mythological creatures of the Shanhaijing alongside bamboo versions of Ai’s earlier works, such as Template and Bang, and homages to Marcel Duchamp and Jasper Johns. A central theme running through the ten vignettes is freedom of speech and Ai’s efforts in defending it. Motifs recurring in Ai’s practice—the bicycle, the alpaca, symbols of state surveillance and control—are repeated and multiplied.

This multifaceted installation is a continuation of Ai’s ongoing engagement with politics and social justice. It follows the release of his feature-length documentary, Human Flow (2017), which depicts the refugee crisis on film. In the artist’s op-ed for the Guardian in February 2018, he writes, “I was a child refugee. I know how it feels to live in a camp, robbed of my humanity. Refugees must be seen as an essential part of our shared humanity.”

In the Theater Gallery, Sunflower Seeds (2010), is composed of 49 tons of individual porcelain sunflower seeds made by 1600 artisans from an ancient porcelain production center in Jingdezhen, in China’s Jiangxi province. This installation further expands upon reoccurring themes, such as authenticity, the individual’s role in society, geopolitics of cultural and economic exchange. The work also brings to mind the propaganda posters of the Cultural Revolution, depicting Mao Zedong as the sun and the citizens as sunflowers turning toward him.

Spouts (2015) piles together thousands of antique teapot spouts dating as far back to the Song dynasty (960–1279). Following Ai’s practice of repetition and multiplication, Spouts can be seen as a metaphor for a mass of mouths, and a widespread yearning for freedom of speech despite its continuing restriction throughout many societies. Spouts was previously exhibited in Galleria Continua in Beijing, the 21er Haus in Vienna, and the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul. This is the first time the complete work is on view.

Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle will be accompanied by an illustrated publication, the third in MAF’s Project Series featuring an essay written by mythologist, writer, and professor Martin Shaw.

Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles



Rineke Dijkstra

The Moment is Eternity – Works from the Olbricht Collection (group show)
me Collectors Room / Stiftung Ulbricht, Berlin
26 September 2018 - 1 April 2019

From 26.09.2018 to 01.04.2019, with some 300 works by approximately 60 artists on display, The Moment is Eternity shines the spotlight on the photographic works in the Olbricht Collection, showing them in dialogue with other artworks from the collection, as well as artefacts from the Wunderkammer.

Transience is one of the key themes of the Olbricht Collection. And what artistic medium other than photography could be better suited to addressing the questions of time and history that this theme throws up? Lending duration to the moment is inscribed into the very medium itself. In this property, art and philosophy come together. Ever since Antiquity, eternity has been described as timeless, and it is in this sense that Goethe equates the moment with eternity in his poem ‘Vermächtnis’ (Legacy, 1830). For humanity, the moment is the only perceptible slice of eternity.

Goethe’s ‘legacy’ is to shape the world through sensuous and reasoned perception: Jumping ahead through the epochs, this fits together with Henri Cartier-Bresson’s dictum of the ‘decisive moment’ to describe an art that is able to simultaneously capture the essence of an event and the form that corresponds to that essence. Just as the photographic grasp on reality intensifies the signs and symbols of an era, the interplay of other art forms also reflects diverse aspects such as duration and transience. The expansive range of the Olbricht Collection explores such themes as beauty and sensuousness, becoming and disappearing, and the body and society, as manifested in various epochs and media.

me Collectors Room / Stiftung Ulbricht, Berlin