Michel Majerus

Early Works (solo show)
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
22 October 2022 – 22 January 2023

KW Institute for Contemporary Art is pleased to take part in a major tribute to artist Michel Majerus (b. 1967­ – dec. 2002, LUX) with a multifaceted program all over the city of Berlin as well as Germany that demonstrate the late artist’s influence on his peers as well as the following generations.
Twenty years after his sudden death, the tribute will commemorate Majerus by showing both his reflections on painting as a medium as well as his groundbreaking vision. One of a world in which popular culture, advertisement, and the virtual realms of TV, videogames and computers have infiltrated the very essence of everyday life, a process that is only intensified by the developments in the digital realm. Referencing the work of distinguished artists of previous generations, their reflections and strategies, Majerus was continuously shifting back and forth between historical, mundane, and contemporary imagery. By sampling fragments, creating series, embodying speed, and referring to the challenging statements made by his predecessors, Majerus’ practice is characterized by continuous and unmitigated observations of surface and space—both physical and virtual—which he used to reflect on the meaning and power of visual culture at large.
The exhibition at KW Institute for Contemporary Art will present the earlier paintings of Michel Majerus produced between 1988–1995, an attempt to uncover the very first stratums of his artistic force. Simultaneously, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, neugerriemschneider, Michel Majerus Estate, and Kunstverein Hamburg will present exhibitions by the artist. Several renowned art institutions across Germany will also present Majerus works from their collections, including Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Neues Museum Nürnberg, Museum Ludwig, Saarlandmuseum – Moderne Galerie and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau. The many collaborations with institutions across Germany will strengthen the visibility of Majerus’ artistic influence and demonstrate the rootedness of his practice in the country’s art discourse.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art


Michel Majerus

kosuth majerus sonderborg (group show)
Michel Majerus Estate, Berlin
28 April 2022 – 18 March 2023

Image: Michel Majerus, Erwachet!, 1999, © Michel Majerus Estate, 2022, courtesy of private collection. Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin
Image: Michel Majerus, Erwachet!, 1999, © Michel Majerus Estate, 2022, courtesy of private collection. Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin

The Michel Majerus Estate is delighted to present kosuth majerus sonderborg, an exhibition curated by Peter Pakesch.

Joseph Kosuth (b. 1945), Michel Majerus (1967–2002), K. R. H. Sonderborg (1923–2008): three names, three worlds – decidedly disparate in their approaches, divergent in their reception, and yet closely linked. Majerus began his studies at Kunstakademie Stuttgart in the late 1980s, first as a student in Sonderborg’s painting class, and from 1991, under Kosuth. This exhibition showcases works by Michel Majerus together with those of his two professors for the first time, tracing an artistic connection that spans generations.

The history of Modern art, in its efforts to create a unified image and perception of the world, was particularly heterogenous – a heterogeneity that rejected contrarian assertions and consistently provided occasion for intense dispute over ideology and conceptual direction: abstraction versus figurativism, intellectual calculation versus expressive, spontaneous impulse. As the 20th century came to a close, this is what prospective artists were confronted with as they commenced their education.

Competing notions of concept and text versus gesture and spontaneity become one in Michel Majerus’ work, drawing parallels to the immediacy of video games. By way of Joseph Kosuth, Majerus came face-to-face with the very source of an artform that set in opposition deep thought and calculation in the context of mapping artistic space, and the impulsive action of gestural painting – one that was celebrated by Sonderborg as a proponent and practitioner of informal painting.

It took Michel Majerus’ unique aptitude and exceptional talent to synthesize the practices of Joseph Kosuth and K. R. H. Sonderborg into a vocabulary all his own – one which ushered in the visual sensibilities of the 21st century. This exhibition highlights the tact with which Majerus condenses his professors’ contrasting strategies to both foster a new understanding of spatial and conceptual continuity, and simultaneously acknowledge their existing paradigms.

Michel Majerus Estate