RIEHEN / BASEL

CONTEMPLATIVE AND HAPPY ART

26th June until 26th September 2020

Invitation card (PDF)

Online Catalogue (PDF)

  • Archipenko 1961 Dignity 01

    Alexander Archipenko
    Dignity

    Polychromed Bronze 1961/64.
    84.5 x 8.4 x 14.6 cm
    Item Id: 80589
    © 2020 Estate of Alexander Archipenko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

     

     

  • Nolde 1921 2A Granada 01

    Emil Nolde
    Granada 
    Watercolour, 1921.
    200 x 203 x 5 cm.
    Item Id: 76551

     

     

     

  • me s 12 003 02

    Max Ernst 
    Séraphin le Néophyte.
    Bronze 1967/2001.
    203 x 75 x 75 cm.
    Item Id: 80570

  • Kirchner 1923 1G G0746 Artisten an Ringen 01

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
    Artisten an Ringen (und Trapez) (Artists on Rings (and Trapeze))
    Oil om canvas 1923/28.
    100 x 75 cm.
    Item Id: 64924

     

     

  • Macke 1912 2A Spielende Kinder im Gruenen a

    August Macke
    Spielende Kinder im Grünen (Children playing in Landscape).
    Watercolour and gouache over pencil 1912.
    54.5 x 68.8 cm.
    Item Id. 80314

     

     

  • Baselitz 2002 5H La Nuit mit Marie gerahmt in der Ausstellung 2018 in Riehen 01

    Georg BaselitzLa nuit mit Marie Linocut 2002.202 x 150 on 228 x 170 cm.Item Id: 80311

     

     

 

Contemplative and Happy Art

26th June until 26th September 2020

All art is dedicated to joy, and there is no higher or more serious task than to make people happy. – Friedrich von Schiller

Art can indeed enrich people's lives in many ways: We can enjoy it, experience it, be inspired by it, or simply take pleasure in it. The understanding of art is not the primary concern. For it can also make us think. Thus, questions can arise about the work of art, questions about oneself, about life, about what is right and what is wrong, questions that are easy to answer, but also questions to which one does not know the answer or even questions that do not require answers. De facto, these are important emotions that are evoked by art. It is precisely these emotions that ultimately decide which work appeals to you, captivates you, touches you, pleases you or not. The exciting thing is that this differs from person to person and makes art as individual as the people themselves are.

In our exhibition, it is possible to discover works by different artists that awaken pure joy or inspire reflection, possibly even creating both at the same time. Nature, for example, is often associated with positive qualities such as freedom. For example, a watercolor by Theo Eble (1899-1974) shows a path in Ticino that leads straight to a bright green field. In Georges Grosz (1893-1959) "Landscape Cape Cod. House in the Dunes", one loses oneself in a blue sky and a hilly landscape with a lonely cottage, a reference to the intervention into nature or the unity of man with nature. With Erich Heckel, people are usually in harmony with nature, as in his watercolor "Kahn mit Badenden" (“Punt with Bathers”). This is also true of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), in whose painting a mountain shepherd with goats finds himself in an expressive landscape, and with August Macke (1887-1914), “Playing Children in the Landscape” enjoy nature. Meanwhile, Darío Basso (*1966) pays homage to the beauty of nature, its formal and colorful diversity, in watercolors and repainted photographs. The viewer can enjoy the bright, contrasting colors and forms, which are less a reflection of reality than "a combination of detail shots and expressive alienation“.[1] In the tradition of art history, however, motifs from nature, especially flowers, equally evoke the idea of transience: the memento mori. This also includes the painting "Grosses Stilleben mit Feldblumen" (“Big Still Life with Flowers”) by Max Pfeiffer Watenphul (1896-1976).

The viewer is increasingly confronted with the theme of transience in works by Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) and Giovanni Manfredini (*1963). While Kubin, the "master of illustration", depicts the theme of death with a symbolic character and personifies it as a grim reaper hanging on a tree or as a skeleton carrying a person in his arms, Manfredini devotes himself to the symbol of the cross and the representation of Jesus. The self-portrait and the question of one's own existence are usually at the center of the Italian's paintings. The artists of the Brücke also often had the transience of man as their theme, not least because of the historical events of their time. In a woodcut from 1919 Kirchner shows a sick person and Erich Heckel also uses the same printing technique to depict a sick girl. In contrast to this, there are joyful and peaceful events which are expressed in Georg Baselitz (*1938) in "La Nuit mit Marie" (“La Nuit with Marie”) in a dancing couple, in Emil Nolde (1867-1956) in "Ringelrosentanz" (“Circular Dance”) or in Kirchner's numerous depictions of variety, theater, and dance, for example in one of the main works in the exhibition: "Artisten an Ringen (und Trapez)" (“Artists on Rings (and Trapeze)”) from 1923/28. The almost devotional “Readers” by George Grosz or Erich Heckel invite you to dream.

A whole group of works has the "figure" as their motif, which can be understood more or less as a "stylized representation of the human body" and formally goes back to Egyptian and Greek antiquity.[2] Usually the figure is understood as pars pro toto, so it is left to the imagination of the viewer to complement the rest of the body. In the works of Jürgen Brodwolf (*1932), the viewer is confronted with very human-like life-size and larger-than-life figures. While the 1.50 m tall "Lead Figure" without head and arms shows strong human traits despite its material, the "Figure of 1984" and "Large Torso of 1987" in their wooden boxes are reminiscent of cocoons. The artist's series of "pigment figures", in which the association of a silhouette of the human body is evoked, has something fragile, something dissolving. And yet the Swiss artist's aim is not to create an "image of the human body", rather the figure is "shaped by the properties of a tube“.[3] The two all-view sculptures "Islander, Green and Black Female" and "Dignity" by Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964) also evoke associations with the human body through their "high, vertical, elongated form", which in the upper area partly bears a resemblance to arms and head.[4] The elaboration is considerably reduced, the forms are strongly abstracted, yet the two bronzes represent "standing, totemic, cohesive, anthropomorphic figures", which "although strongly abstracted, are nevertheless committed to the human form. In both cases they are torso-like, statuesque structures, similar to cult and god statuettes of early cultures, frontally aligned and majestically towering high above a small pedestal (...)".[5]

The exhibition also includes works of abstraction that invite the viewer to make individual associations, for example through the title of the painting, as in Max Ernst's (1891-1976) painting "Les Jeunes et les Jeux twistent". The small-scale, numerous structures with color gradations from blue to green lead to a special liveliness of the picture surface, which suggests a relief-like appearance. In Pizzi Cannella (*1955), one is confronted with a primed canvas with an apparently running red dot that is strongly reminiscent of an amphora. Meanwhile, one encounters devoutly the five-part work in lead on wood by Nunzio (*1954), which breaks the dark monochrome of the work through the structure of fine dots that form a curved shape on the smooth surface, while light and shadow create apparent color changes.

In this exhibition we would like to invite you to let your emotions run free with the help of various works. Let your thoughts wander, they can be trivial or even profound, or simply enjoy representations of nature, animals and people or abstract forms and figures and let yourself be taken on a journey to the beautiful things in life.                                             
                                                                                                                           

Katharina Sagel
(Translated by Uli Nickel)

 


[1] Alexandra Henze Triebold, text for the exhibition “Darío Basso. Aquarelle und überarbeitete Fotografien“ (“Dario Basso. Watercolors and Revised Photos”, April – June 2011, Gallery Henze & Ketterer & Riehen.

[2] Alexandra Henze Triebold, Jürgen Brodwolf. Die Figur im Raum (The Figure in Space). Unpublished dissertation, Bern 2007.

[3] Ib.

[4] Alexandra Henze Triebold, Islander und Dignity von Alexander Archipenko (Islander and Dignity by Alexander Archipenko), Riehen 2020.

[5] Ib.

 

Galerie Henze & Ketterer
Kirchstrasse 26, CH 3114 Wichtrach
Tel. +41 (0)31 781 06 01
modernart (at) henze-ketterer.com
Galerie Henze & Ketterer & Triebold
Wettsteinstrasse 4, CH 4125 Riehen
Tel. +41 (0)61 641 77 77
ghkt (at) artgalleries.ch