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24.02.2018 – 01.04.2018
ERNST BARLACH — K?THE KOLLWITZ
Curator: Heike Stockhaus
ERNST BARLACH — KÄTHE KOLLWITZ
Beyond the Borders of Existence
February 24, to April 1, 2018
Under the patronage of German Ambassador, Dr Ernst Reichel
Supported by German Federal Foreign Office
With Ernst Barlach (1870-1938) and Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), two world-famous German artists return to a cultural region, to which they were passionately connected to and which had a visible influence on their artistic work. In this exhibition, basic questions concerning human existence are reflected, which still are affecting us to this very day.
In 1906, caused by his trip to Ukraine, Ernst Barlach discovered the artistic leitmotifs, which will determine his entire work from then on. During these two months travel from Kiev to Kharkiv and the area around, he developed the idea of man’s metaphysical disposition between "heaven and earth".
In those years, the "New Man", the "New World", as well as the "New Era", were the leitmotifs for the transition from the 19th to the 20th century in European literature, art and, particularly, for these two German Expressionists.
At an early stage, Käthe Kollwitz had devoted her art to specific social issues. At the center of her work, those people are standing, who are invisible in the shadow of progress, who suffer from the poorest conditions and are struggling for their very existence. Through a realistic and appealing imagery she wanted to give a change to reality, not accepting such injustices.
Whereas Käthe Kollwitz has dedicated her work to a contemporary view of concrete social conditions, Ernst Barlach can be seen as a “modern mystic”. Barlach’s human figures embody general conditions of human existence and reflect a spiritual approach beyond daily life. His works especially express a strong doubt on the increasing materialism and egocentric orientation in the modern world.
Both artists, however, considered the task of their work in changing society as to be seen from a profound humanistic approach. To engage in peace, was certainly their greatest merit and today they represent an indispensable voice of German culture of the 20th century. Their works are unmistakably clear to the current questions about the conditions of human existence and are understood on the streets of the world. Their questions have not resolved, but today they pose a great common challenge to us: How can we find the way to a peaceful, just and sustainable world society?
With around 160 art works including huge monumental figures, wonderful sculptures, drawings and graphics from Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz, this exhibition in NAMU is one of the greatest presentations of German classic modern art in Ukraine.
An exhibition of Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft Hamburg realized in cooperation with National Art Museum of Ukraine.
With special thanks to the loangivers: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) Stuttgart, Ernst Barlach Museum Wedel, Ernst Barlach Museum Ratzeburg and private German collections.
Contact and further information:
National Museum of Ukraine
Phone: +38 (044) 278 74 54, +38 (044) 278 13 57
Heike Stockhaus /project management
Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0) 170 52 500 13