In Berlin, Looking at a Familiar Art Collection With New Eyes

For the chapter “Making Paradise. Places of Longing, from Paul Gauguin to Tita Salina,” the museum has acquired work by Mr. Spies on everlasting mortgage. At the opposite finish of the spectrum is Ms. Salina, a younger Indonesian artist whose video art work “1001st Island — The Most Sustainable Island in Archipelago” casts a crucial mild on the Western eager for island paradise.

[READ MORE: In Berlin, Artists Find a Home]

Udo Kittelmann, director of the Nationalgalerie, the umbrella group that features 5 of Berlin’s museums, and a curator of “Hello World,” known as it a “duty in these changing times” to signify creative actions on all continents, from Asia to South America. He stated that whereas the amassing preferences of German museums have been “strongly shaped by American influence” after the Second World War, establishments within the United States have been in the meantime working to “expand the canon.”


“Deerhunt” by Walter Spies, a German painter who had an enduring impression on up to date Balinese artwork.

2012 Adrian Vickers, reprinted from “Balinese Art” by Adrian Vickers

The Nationalgalerie has touched upon the necessity for putting non-European artwork on equal footing with established works, however by no means on this scale. The 2010 exhibit “Intolerance,” curated by Willem de Rooij, explored the parallels between 17th-century Dutch work and 18th-century Hawaiian ceremonial objects.

Mr. de Rooij, a Dutch artist based mostly in Berlin, lauded “Hello World” for taking over a “public investigation” of the Nationalgalerie’s collections and expressed hope that the initiative would generate an “ongoing discussion” inside the group. He famous the potential for Berlin’s museums to take a number one function within the canonization of art work in close by nations resembling Poland.

[READ MORE: Berlin Galleries Find a Way to Lure the World]

The retrospective brings collectively eight on-site curators with 5 company whose specialties embody African and Eastern European artwork. The artwork historian and visitor curator Clémentine Deliss, in her chapter, “Portable Homelands. From Field to Factory,” displays the works of the German painter Heinrich Vogeler alongside the outcomes of a community-outreach mission she initiated at an deserted manufacturing facility within the city of Dilijan, Armenia. While finest identified for his “Jugendstil” or Art Nouveau interval, Vogeler produced work for the Socialist trigger within the 1930s from the Soviet Union — together with Armenia, a Soviet republic on the time.

By juxtaposing the work of artists as totally different as Vogeler, the Australia-based design crew Perks and Mini, and the Armenian filmmaker Vardan Danielyan, Ms. Deliss hopes to above all discover the “transversal connections” between artists, additionally as they existed earlier than the web and the age of straightforward world journey. Artists of various nations “may have known more about each other than one presumes,” she stated.


“Venus Negra” by the 20th-century Bolivian sculptor Marina Núñez del Prado.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie/Reinhard Friedrich

Mr. Kittelmann additionally emphasised that globalization was underway as early because the 19th century, quoting the fashionable artwork patron Harry Graf Kessler, who in 1898 famous that “the picture remains amazingly similar from one part of the world to another” throughout his travels in Mexico.

In Mr. Kittelmann’s exhibit chapter, titled “Where Do We Come From? Adapting Sculptural Forms,” he explores the affect of non-European artwork on fashionable sculpture. Rather than pairing museum works with artifacts that will have been supposed for religious rituals, nevertheless, he prefers to permit these connections to talk for themselves.

The choice consists of objects from the everlasting assortment which have by no means been exhibited, resembling “Venus Negra,” by the 20th-century Bolivian sculptor Marina Núñez del Prado. The headless, curvy torso sits across the nook from “Helmet Head No. 6” by Henry Moore, identified for his abstracted depictions of the feminine physique.

By bringing works which can be “always in storage to daylight” and reconsidering their place in historical past, Mr. Kittelmann hopes that “Hello World” will provoke thought concerning the very credibility of a museum “at a time when credibility is thrown into question almost every day.”

“We, another generation of museum staff, have different tasks to face than perhaps was the case 20 years ago.”

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