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Potsdamer Platz - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Paul Klee

18.07.2013 to 17.11.2013
Museum Berggruen

The point of departure for the exhibition is the famous painting Potsdamer Platz, which Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) painted in 1914 just a few months before the outbreak of the First World War, in what is, in effect, a homage to modern urbanity in Berlin.

Alongside this key work are ten drawings by Paul Klee (1879­-1940), which he created in 1918-1919 as illustrations for the Expressionist novel Potsdamer Platz oder Die Nächte des neuen Messias (English translation: 'Potsdamer Platz or The Nights of the New Messiah') by the Berlin writer Curt Corrinth (1894-1960).

Both Klee's drawings and Kirchner's painting depict Potsdamer Platz as the site of encounters between the sexes, but other than that the images differ hugely in style and message. The oppressive this-worldliness depicted by Kirchner prior to the outbreak of the First World War is juxtaposed by Klee four years later (by which time the war had been lost and Berlin stood on the brink of the German Revolution) by the idea of the rapturing of the soul: a theme that remained important throughout Klee's career, especially in his later works.

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