The Freedom of Thought

30.10.2021 - 29.01.2022

At Döbele Kunst Mannheim There will be an exclusive preview on October 28, 2021 from 6:00pm The freedom of art is a fundamental right and one of the most protected in the German catalog of fundamental rights. From today's perspective, it is hard to imagine what it meant to work non-figuratively as an artist in the 1950s/60s, contrary to the expectations of the state apparatus of the GDR. However, the intense political discussions about the role of art as an instrument of popular education already in the early years of the GDR made any deviating aesthetic positioning be understood as hostile to the state. It is therefore all the more astonishing, and has so far been all too little discussed, how courageously and defiantly a whole series of artists stood up to this. Hermann Glöckner is the "patriarch" of an autonomous scene of independently thinking and, at least in private, freely creating artists, whose center can be found especially in Dresden. Admired by artists of his and later generations, today he holds the noble reputation of an artist's artist. Public honors of his work necessarily took place only in the last years of his life. His extraordinary art historical significance is increasingly being recognized. After an early figurative work, Glöckner increasingly distanced himself from the subject matter as early as the 1930s. Thus Glöckner's work, which consists of many different periods of creation, has reinvented itself again and again, and in form and line always suggests a certain closeness to his early figurative studies. "I am just basically not a constructivist, I am first and foremost a painter. But both branches of my work have undoubtedly stimulated each other." Based on a broad selection of his multifaceted oeuvre, in the exhibition "The Freedom of Thinking" Döbele Kunst presents an exceptional, non-conformist artist who is now rightfully regarded a master of modernism. On display, in addition to early figurative works, is a very special example of his important constructivist panel work "Schwarzweiß geteilter Keil auf Grau" (Black and White Divided Wedge on Gray) (Dittrich Panel 22 c. 1932). Also on view will be examples from the portfolio "Hand Prints" in which Glöckner's joy in experimentation is evident. In them it becomes clear once again: there is hardly a painting surface or a painting medium that he did not test in its usability. An example of his string reliefs, a sculptural work and serigraphs round off the presentation. Alongside Glöckner, contemporaries and "fellow sufferers" are presented, including his only student, Wilhelm Müller. His work, like Glöckner's, is consistently oriented towards abstraction. In addition to strictly graphic works on paper, the exhibition also includes works with an informal appeal. One focus is on the stripe and line paintings, but also on the delicate drawings of the cycle "Japanese Circus", which in their dynamics are reminiscent of Glöckner's "Schwünge". Müller and Helmut Schmidt-Kirstein met at Ursula Baring's, who as a collector regularly organized private exhibitions of non-conformist artists. Schmidt-Kirstein's works initially drew more from the figurative, but the forms became increasingly simplified until they separated completely from the object. Since the mid-1950s, Schmidt-Kirstein was particularly interested in monotypes, which are characterized by strong lines and at the same time controlled planeness of forms. They are present in the exhibition with numerous examples. Grid-like structures, strong contrasts and a lively application of color characterized his work until he returned to the object in the late 1960s. His abstract work period is all the more significant given the fact that Schmidt-Kirstein had no contacts with the West, as did many of his non-objective colleagues at the time. Like Schmidt-Kirstein, Herbert Kunze also found his way to abstraction in the 1960s. A professor at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts since 1953, he was admired by his students for his progress-oriented teaching style, but for the most part he was only able to pursue his artistic explorations of modernism in secret. Informal caligraphic ink painting and Kunze's characteristic collages, which are oriented towards Cubism, characterize his work and expand the extensive spectrum of the exhibition. Last but not least, also because he has been given a lot of attention recently, Max Uhlig should not be missing. He is certainly the most figuratively working among the presented artists. His portraits and landscapes, manifesting themselves in rhythmic ductus, challenge the viewer to a "different" way of seeing, a breaking free from familiar habits. All of Uhlig's works have an enormous plasticity in common. Light and volume are sometimes achieved by leaving the ground of the work free, sometimes by the lines bundled gesturally over one another into the deepest black. The artist is always in search of the spiritual-structural core, the truthfulness of the object. The exhibition features large-scale paintings and works on paper, which form a main focus in it. (EDL) Take advantage of our exclusive preview on October 28, 2021 from 6:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Exhibition views

  • Werke von Hermann Glöckner - Aufschichtung von fünf Baumstammscheiben
  • Werke von Hermann Glöckner
  • Monotypie von Helmut Schmidt-Kirstein, Werke von Hermann Glöckner
  • Monotypie von Helmut Schmidt-Kirstein, rechts Horst Antes
  • Werke von Hermann Glöckner und Wilhelm Müller
  • Werke von Max Uhlig
  • Werke von Max Uhlig, im Hintergrund Matschinsky-Denninghoff
  • Werke von Herbert Kunze