Monday, 21 November 2011

New forms of abstraction 'Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany' Saatchi HQ, London

Isa Genzken 'Geschwister' 2004, plastic, lacquer, mirror foil, glass, metal, wood, fabric 220 x 60 x 100 cm
An alternative to the Gerhard Richter show at Tate Modern is this one at Saatchi's Chelsea HQ entitled: 'Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany' from 18th November - 30th April 2012, read the Financial Times review. Following the interesting Abstract America exhibition last year, here is one that explores cross-media abstraction in Germany. I like these works by the artist (and ex-wife of Richter) Isa Gentzen..

Isa Gentzen, 'Kinder Filmen I' 2005, Mirror, metal, adhesive tape, magazine and book pages, stamps acrylic, lacquer, spray paint. 280 x 100 cm each panel (Wall Installation of Four Parts

The art of the 24 artists from or based in Germany presented here provokes a re-assessment of the 19th-century ideal of the 'Gesamtkunstwerk', which can be translated as a total, universal art work, or a synthesis of different art forms into one all-embracing unique genre, especially sculpture.

Thomas Kieswetter, 'Barriere' 2010, Sheet metal, steel 
'Many of these works ask us to think about the boundaries of art, our perception of it, its cultural specificity and its relationship to other disciplines. Running through the works is another, unconscious, quasi-Gesamtkunstwerk: the baggage of post-war German visual culture. If the work of these 24 artists points to a new kind of 'Gesamtkunstwerk' it is one in which high and low culture, the avant-garde and the historical, the everyday and everything in between can co-exist in a body of works which add up to much more than the sum of their parts.'

These artists including Josephine Meckseper, Markus Selg, Thomas Zipp, Max Frisinger, Gert and Uwe Tobias are in dialogue with previous generations of German artists, such as Joseph Beuys, Martin Kippenberger and Gerhard Richter. 

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