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30.09.2005 to 08.01.2006


"'Wittgenstein in New York" - City and architecture in the new art on paper

"Wittgenstein in New York" is the title of a 1965 work by Eduardo Paolozzi. The silkscreen print by the British artist, who died in 2005, originates from his portfolio "As Is When", which is dedicated to Ludwig Wittgenstein (Vienna 1889 - Cambridge 1951). It deals with the human being as both a component of, and a counterpart to, the hi-tech mechanics of the modern metropolis.

Named after Paolozzi's work, the Kupferstichkabinett's exhibition "Wittgenstein in New York" focusses on artist's preoccupation with architecture and the city from 1965 to the present. In loose analogy to the linguistic analytic philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein that was a source of inspiration to many artists in the sixties, more recent visual artists have increasingly proven to be just as shrewd and wilful in their analysis of architectural and urban space. Since it is architecture that to such a high degree marks and dominates the world we live in - not least in Berlin - the subject is special and perpetually topical. "Wittgenstein in New York" has chosen to concentrate on drawings and prints. It is not only the specific range of the individual techniques - from freehand drawing all the way to digital print - that makes the depiction of city and architecture intelligible. What also becomes apparent is that art-on-paper can vividly portray architectural volumes that other artistic techniques are only partially capable of.

At the centre of the exhibition are quite different positions of artistic interpretation and invention of architectural space: factual reality, cool deconstruction, critical analysis and visionary hyperbole. These positions are divided into seven sections that, at times, assemble works from different periods and style brackets into new thematic groups.

The section "The City in Your Head" deals with the artists' mentality and conceptual ideas which on paper congeal into subjective spaces. "City Views: New York" assembles different attempts to pictorialize the metropolis (defined as a classical symbol of the modern western city), while the section "Transformations in Printmaking Media" illustrates the aesthetic and thematic consequences of reworking architectural subjects, especially via the silkscreen print. "Urbanist Macrostructures" is devoted to the abstract codes that city and architecture take on when viewed from a distance, whereas in the section "Buildings and Faςades", the isolated edifice or type of construction is the object of artistic reflection. In "Criticism and Vision" the artists expose architectural and city planning realities - or in fact first graphically envision the (bleak) future. The final section "Space - Sculpture - Architecture" revolves around forms located between sculpture and architecture that can reveal, often for the first time, the spatial aspects of the plastic arts via two-dimensional art-on-paper.

The exhibition includes the work of over 40 predominantly German and Anglo-American artists, primarily drawn from the Kupferstichkabinett's own holdings. Among them are numerous recent acquisitions, including private gifts and individual purchases by the Graphic Society of Berlin and the Friends of the Kupferstichkabinett. The Kupferstichkabinett has acquired many works over the past two years thanks to the sponsorship of the Stiftung DKLB within the Berlin Senate Department for Science, Research and Culture. The selection of exhibits has been complemented by loans that represent an acquisition wishlist.

Artists included in the exhibition: Franz Ackermann, Peter Ackermann, Monika Baer, Jennifer Bartlett, Dellbrügge & de Moll, Antje Dorn, Chris Doyle, Olafur Eliasson, Richard Estes, Ueli Etter, Folke Hanfeld, Erwin Heerich, Thomas Huber, Hubert Kiecol, Pauline Kraneis, Kreissl & Kerber, Stefan Mauck, Bruce McLean, Julie Mehretu, Nanne Meyer, Helmut Middendorf, Sarah Morris, Olaf Nicolai, Claes Oldenburg, Eduardo Paolozzi, Simon Pasieka, Philip Pearlstein, Sigmar Polke, Thomas Ravens, Martin Rosz, Dieter Roth, Ed Ruscha, Fred Sandback, Kai Schiemenz, Hansjörg Schneider, Jo Schöpfer, Andreas Siekmann, Pravoslav Sovak, Heidi Specker, Klaus Staeck, Helmut Süß, Stephen Talasnik, Stefan Wewerka, Rachel Whiteread, Gerd Winner