After 'Modern Times. The Collection 1900-1945', the second instalment in the showing of the National Gallery's collection of 20th-century art will go on display in November 2011.
Germany's 'economic miracle' and the building of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Crisis and Vietnam War, Sputnik and Apollo, Kennedy and Mao-stark contrasts, entrenched positions and clear fronts mark the eventful years between 1945 and 1968. Fine art from this period was significantly influenced by the atmosphere of the 'Cold War' and the political ideologies connected with it. In art, two major paths essentially separated East and West, the figurative and abstraction. The West held aloft the open structure of abstract or 'informal' art as a symbol of freedom. And it was certainly no coincidence that the pop art that followed it arose in the major capitals of the West, where the phenomena of mass production and a rising tide of consumer culture were everywhere to be seen. In the Eastern Block, by contrast, socialist realism became the prevailing trend and a defining basis for all developments in the art that came after it. In all of this, the individual became the point by which all things were measured, artists made the 'human condition' the core focus of their work.
Under the title 'Divided Heaven' (echoing the novel by Christa Wolf), the New National Gallery introduces us to the key figures from this epoch. In its focus, however, the exhibition deliberately looks beyond barriers, geopolitical and artistic, and concentrates instead on universal artistic ideas, held by both camps at once. At the heart of 'Divided Heaven' stand the international disparities: the juxtaposition of styles and art forms, the contemporaneity of the non-contemporaneous.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Sparkassen Finanzgruppe.
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