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Die Sammlungen. The Collections. Les Collections

01.08.2013 until further notice
Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin

The collections of the Nationalgalerie at Hamburger Bahnhof trace artistic tendencies from 1960 to the present day. Since the opening of the museum in 1996, the presentation of the Marx Collection, with works by artists including Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, has been of particular importance – in addition to the Nationalgalerie’s holdings of important works by artists such as Dieter Roth, Bruce Nauman and Carolee Scheemann. Based on these pioneers, who dissolved the boundaries of traditional art forms, the museum’s exhibitions and programmes focus on the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary art. In addition, the collection presentations also show works from the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof. The holdings are presented in thematic exhibitions as well as varying collection presentations under the title Die Sammlungen. The Collections. Les Collections.

Current presentation of the collections:

Until Further Notice
The Marx Collection ‒Joseph Beuys

In the west wing, major works by Joseph Beuys are on permanent display, including The End of the 20th Century, Tram Stop, Tallow, and Directional Forces of a New Society. Since 2016, this one-of-a-kind presentation of large-scale sculptures by the German artist has been expanded into the Kleihues Hall, which is currently closed for major renovations.

The Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof

The presentation of selected works from the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, on display at the back of the Rieckhallen in Hamburger Bahnhof, assembles works by representatives of Minimal Art, as well as by artists of subsequent generations. This art deals with examinations of space, presence and seriality, as well as with social issues and interactions between works and viewers. Artists associated with Minimal Art and the tendencies that followed it, for instance Post-Minimal Art and Conceptual Art, broke away from formal aspects used for the space of Modern sculpture and rejected fundamentals of traditional sculpture, which make reference to the human form or transcendence. While Donald Judd (1928‒1994) in his work Untitled (1991), for example, placed five aluminium cubes directly on the ground and consciously moved away from narrative and figurative content, Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961) in his untitled 2010 (all the days on the autobahn) (2010) quotes the aesthetics and materiality of Judd’s work though the title and with a pedestal-free glass display case. However, when Tiravanija presented his discarded car ‒ and a coffee cup cast in lead with the text is this all there is to life placed under one of the car’s tyres ‒ as an everyday object inside the cube, he was stressing the close connections between art and life. Isa Genzken (b. 1948) and Wolfgang Tillmans’ (b. 1968) installation Science Fiction / Hier und jetzt zufrieden sein (2001) combines untitled mirrored cubes as a central motif in Genzken’s works of the 1990s and Tillmans’ large-scale photographs of a dance floor after a party night (titled Wake) with the museum space. They dynamise and overlap it, reflecting seemingly endless duplications of viewers back to them. The examination of space and architecture as a socially determined and determining element is also central in Dan Graham’s (b. 1942) work. His study models of glass and reflecting pavilions in clear, geometric forms made of industrially produced materials refer to the design principles of Minimal Art. They simultaneously quote and transfer traditions of Baroque park and garden pavilions, as well as Modernist steel and glass architecture into the present day. And they confront viewers with the very process of viewing itself. Thomas Struth (b. 1954) also investigates perception and the “collective unconscious” of urban space in his series Unbewusste Orte – deserted streets, squares and buildings, which he has photographed since the end of the 1970s. Bruce Nauman’s “experiential architecture” Room With My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care (1984), in the form of a tunnel crossing that can be walked through, concludes the presentation.

The exhibition Magical Soup: Media Art from the 1970s to the Present from the Nationalgalerie Collection and the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, augmented with loans, is on view in the front exhibition spaces in the Rieckhallen as of September 2020. The show brings together works of media art, installations and works on paper by international artists, whose common starting point is the relationship between sound, image and social space.

Until Further Notice
Outdoor Sculptures

Sculptures and – partly walk-in – installations by Hans Peter Adamski, Georg Baselitz, Elmgreen & Dragset, Tom Fecht, Urs Fischer, Robert Indiana, John Knight, Bruce Nauman, and Franz West, are on display in front of and behind the museum building. A light installation by American artist Dan Flavin also belongs to the building. In 1996 Flavin designed the fluorescent tubes with blue and green fluorescent light especially for the façade and the historical side wings of the museum.

Related content

On view is: Christoph Büchel, Training Ground for Training Ground for Democracy, 2007, Installation, dimensions variable, exhibition view Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, 2016
© Christoph Büchel und Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, gift of the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection / Photo: Thomas Bruns
Christoph Büchel’s installation “Training Ground for Training Ground for Democracy”: on view at the Hamburger Bahnhof from 22 October 2016
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
20 Years of the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

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