Anna & Bernhard Blume
Pure Reason

04.04.2008 to 10.08.2008

Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart
Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart

Sponsored by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital Culture Fund). With generous support from Sander Imaging GmbH.

Artists Anna and Bernhard Blume, both born in 1937, have significantly extended the genre of the staged photograph, and number among its most renowned exponents internationally. In their frequently multipart, large format, black-and-white photoseries, this artistic couple enacts stages temporal sequences within which they themselves are the protagonists. The scenes are often reduced, estranged, and above all odd: order and chaos seem to be mutually conditioning, role-playing and convention inhere in each object, conditioning modes of behavior and provoking resistance. With their diagnoses of the contemporary condition, the works of Anna and Bernhard Blume consistently interweave performance, painting, and photography.

The exhibition "Reine Vernunft" (Pure Reason), their first comprehensive appearance in Berlin, provides an overview of the ironical and philosophical strategy of this artistic team, which critically opposes the elevation of the artist as representative of a petit-bourgeois milieu. Through their intensive dedication to a continuous process of self-experimentation, Anna and Bernhard Blume have performed groundwork on the nature of German existence. Their thesis is as simple as it is astonishing: Before going out into the big, wide, world, one ought to thoroughly investigate "home sweet home" to see whether every conceivable form of misery is not present there already.