Artist Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt (b. 1932, Wurzen, Germany), who has lived in Berlin for over seventy years, is being honoured with the Hannah Höch Prize, 2022 for her extensive oeuvre, which includes paintings, drawings and, in particular, typewriter graphics (1972–89). In conjunction with the award, the artist will also present a solo exhibition at the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Wolf-Rehfeldt’s Typewritings have an affinity to visual and concrete poetry; they tend towards the abstract, the concrete and the architectural; and were expanded into collages, especially during the 1980s. Wolf-Rehfeldt actively participated in the international Mail Art scene and sent her “typewritings” to artists both inside and outside the borders of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which were closed to her. In so doing she developed a global network of communication. The artist, now 90 years old, recollects:
I had the ambition, like a spider in her web, to spin my threads to every place on earth.
Wolf-Rehfeldt sometimes asked the addressees to artistically augment her typewriter graphics and return them, resulting in the creation of collaborative works. These hybrid collages interweave very diverse materials, visual worlds and times and spaces. They suggest a link to Hannah Höch’s (1889–1978) Dadaist photomontages, uniting the two artists in spirit across decades and national borders.
Wolf-Rehfeldt's typewriter works and collages, including Typewritings recently acquired by the Graphische Gesellschaft zu Berlin, the Friends of the Kupferstichkabinett, are placed in dialogue with collages by Hannah Höch and works of Conceptual Art, Minimalism, contemporary typewriter art and Mail Art from the Kupferstichkabinett collection by artists including Robert Barry, Peter Roehr and Gert and Uwe Tobias. Comprising some 120 works, the exhibition functions like an international network in which Wolf-Rehfeldt’s works are embedded, with the effect of broadening the view of art in the GDR.
The exhibition also looks at how Wolf-Rehfeldt’s works deal with relationships between people and nature, nature and culture, and people amongst themselves, as well as the competitive interactions between power-oriented forces. Dangerous Balance is the title of one of her typewritten works. It was created against the background of the Cold War and, albeit with minimal means, impressively captures the fragile state of peace in words and images. Wolf-Rehfeldt openly voiced her commitment to the peace movement.
Although her Typewritings are more than thirty years old, they remain highly topical, not only with regard to the current tense situation in Europe. In them, Wolf-Rehfeldt also addresses the changes in communication media and their networks, the impact of global communication with and without borders, and calls attention to the value of information – bringing to mind today’s debates about fake news and censorship. This relevance, in addition to the fact that the artist has not yet been honoured in her hometown of Berlin, prompted her nomination for the Hannah Hoch Prize in 2022 – the year in which Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt celebrates her 90th birthday.
The Hannah Höch Prize has been awarded since 1996 by the Berlin Senate Department of Culture for an outstanding artistic oeuvre. The prize is named in honour of artist Hannah Höch[JB1] , who achieved international fame with her work as a Dadaist. The prize is awarded to artists living and working in Berlin who stand out for their continuous artistic achievements. In addition to the prize endowed with 25,000 euros, the award includes an exhibition and a publication. Award winners are selected by the Berlin Senate Department of Culture’s Visual Arts Funding Commission, in which the Berlinische Galerie, Georg Kolbe Museum, Neue Berliner Kunstverein and Stiftung Stadtmuseum are represented, along with the Kupferstichkabinett – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt "Wie eine Spinne im Netz," on the occasion of the Hannah Höch Prize 2022. Edited by Jenny Grase, with a preface by Klaus Lederer, a foreword by Dagmar Korbacher, and texts by Jenny Graser, Fabienne Meyer and Kathleen Reinhardt. German, 216 pages, approx. 180 color illustrations, dust jacket. DCV Verlag, Berlin 2021, ISBN 978-3-96912-104-7, museum edition 34 Euros, bookstore edition 38 Euros.
Farkhondeh Shahroudi’s exhibition at the Kuperstichkabinett, part of the Hannah Höch Förderpreis (Advancement Award) she received in 2022, will be shown in parallel with the exhibition for Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt.
With the kind support of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
A special exhibition by the Kupferstichkabinett – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Offers and events
Address / Getting there
U-Bahn U2 (Potsdamer Platz)
S-Bahn S1, S2, S25 (Potsdamer Platz)
Bus M29 (Potsdamer Brücke); M41 (Potsdamer Platz Bhf / Voßstraße); M48, M85 (Kulturforum); 200 (Philharmonie)
Sun 11:00 - 18:00
Tue 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 10:00 - 18:00
Thu 10:00 - 18:00
Fri 10:00 - 18:00
Sat 11:00 - 18:00
Opening times on public holidays Opening hours
Prices / Tickets
Admission / Public health measures