September 7, 2011

Baumann & Fuchs curated by Christiane Mobus. Works by 21 Berlin artists from the Udk-Berlin

Baumann & Fuchs - Christiane Möbus and selected artists from the Udk-Berlin
401contemporary in Anton von Werner Haus, Berlin
9- 17 September 2011

The villa of Anton von Werner, constructed in 1873-74 in an unexpected cul-de-sac off the bustling Potsdamer Strasse, was the inspiration source as well as backdrop for the work of 21 Berlin-based-and-formed artists. Baumann & Fuchs is organized by 401Contemporary, Berlin - the villa is adjacent to the gallery's own spaces in Potsdamer Strasse. Curated by Christiane Möbus, the exhibition tracks her two decades as an artist and arts professor in Berlin through the creations of a selection of artists all of whom were part of her class at one point or other during this time. 

Participating artists: Christiane Möbus and Ayelet Albenda, Silva Agostini, Peter Dobroschke, Bertram Hasenauer, Eliana Heredia, Andreas Koch, Azusa Kuno, Alicja Kwade, Marta Leite, Susanne Lorenz, André Marose, Nada Sebestyén, Asli Sungu, Anita Tarnutzer, Britta Thie, Philip Topolovac, Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton, Jorinde Voigt, Markus Wirthmann and Anton von Werner. 

As a guest in the house and private studio of the first director of the University for Visual Arts, established in 1875, one’s thoughts are bound to meander through the history of German art and culture as the von Werner house is a vestige of 19th, 20th and 21st century history. ‘Reading’ and further adding to the layers of different ideologies and convictions so visible and present in this place, is a rare and fortunate act. One becomes part of the loose chain of continuity that whirls through this palimpsest building. 

The liveliness of the imagery and formal language of the exhibited works is of such an engaging nature that dialogues are established as one proceeds through the exhibition. The discourse takes place on many different levels and more often than not, features the existential conditions of our current mode of living. Complex and abstruse as these themes can be, they are never treated without the subtle hint of irony, wit and poetic nuance, which eventually enables the viewer to intuitively confront, comprehend and assimilate the art. 

The exhibition Baumann & Fuchs includes installations, paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture and video. A fascinating array of highly individual artistic and personal approaches runs through the works on display. Their common denominator however is a clear concept and the assumption that the observer is not devoid of an ability to intensely and intently experience. Through their work, the artists fully expose themselves, with intent and intensely, to the demands and the games set up by our times. 

Christiane Möbus (b. 1947 in Celle) studied at the University of Art in Braunschweig (Brunswick/Germany) in 1966-1970 and was taught by Emil Cimiotti. In 1970 she was awarded a DAAD scholarship that brought her to New York City where she started her artistic career. During this time she created her first photo-series, films, sculptures, objects and installations including “Das Mississippi-Projekt”, “Das Eisberg-Projekt” (The Ice Mountain Project) and “Das Mond-Projekt” (The Moon Project). Möbus also worked with Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown in dance-performances. After returning to Germany she lectured in Hamburg and Brunswick before getting a professorship at the Berlin University of Arts in 1990 where she has lectured ever since. Christiane Möbus had numerous solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions in and outside of Germany. Her work features in several German museum collections including the LehmbruckMuseum Duisburg; the Sprengel Museum, Hannover; the Neues Museum Nürnberg and the Museum Wiesbaden. In 2010 she was awarded the highly prestigious Gabriele Münter Award and she was also a fellow at the Villa Romana in Florence, (Italy).

Anton von Werner (1834-1915) studied art in Berlin and Karlsruhe. 1871 is a watershed moment, as von Werner is beckoned by Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm to Versailles in order to capture on canvas the proclamation of the German Empire, an event that marks the beginning of von Werner’s personification of the quintessential portrayer of the Wilhelminism times. His prominent career is dotted with milestone appointments: in 1875 member of the Prussian Arts Academy; in 1875 director of the newly founded University for Visual Arts in Berlin (Hochschule für die bildenden Künste); and in 1887 president of the private Association of Berlin Artists (Verein Berliner Künstler). Steeped deeply in conservative artistic ideals backed by the Emperor, von Werner gradually loses touch with the revolutionary and unstoppable developments in the arts proclaimed by artists such as Max Liebermann and Edvard Munch. Von Werner’s death in 1915 provokes a sigh of relief by artists and critics alike.

Anton von Werner House : Von Werner’s living and working quarters off the Potsdamer Strasse – known as ‘Villa VI’ – were built in 1873-1874 by Ernst Klingenberg. Von Werner personally designed the decorative elements for the house, which made it one of Berlin’s first ‘artist’s residences’ and evoking a sensation en route. In addition to being a private home Villa VI also became a cultural centre and fashionable meeting place for Berlin’s turn of the century ‘beau monde’. Von Werner lived in the house until his death after which the building served several functions with little or no attention paid to the house’s history. The importance of villa has been re-established in recent years and the house is currently being prepared for extensive restoration. 

Anton von Werner Haus is located Potsdamer Strasse 81 in Berlin (Tiergarten).

Dr. Ralf-Otto Hänsel (Owner/Director)
Potsdamer Strasse 81 B 
Berlin (Tiergarten), Germany