To mark a generous gift, the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg’s new collection presentation puts the spotlight on 30 works by Swiss Surrealist Max von Moos (1903–1979) as well as new acquisitions of others by Hannah Höch (1889–1978), Unica Zürn (1916–1970) and contemporary artist Fatoş İrwen. Taking as its starting point Hannah Höch’s gouache Der Geschöpfe sind viele zwischen Himmel und Erde (Many are the Creatures Between Heaven and Earth, 1930), the exhibition consisting of six sections explores the human figure in Surrealism.
Odilon Redon (1840–1916), a precursor to Surrealism, had already formulated the image of a disembodied floating head as representing a purely intellectural visionary power. Hans Bellmer’s works, created in the 1930s during the rise of National Socialism, exemplify the Surrealist conception of the damaged human being. Artists such as Salvador Dalí (1904–1989), André Masson, Pablo Picasso (in his brief Surrealist phase) and Max von Moos rendered human beings as furniture or replaced parts of the human body with inanimate objects. In another group of works, the human face is reduced to a mask. After the catastrophe of the Second World War, artists including Richard Oelze (1900–1980), Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985) and Max von Moos sought to counter the early Surrealists’ image of the denatured human with a notion of some sort of renaturalisation. In their works new creatures emerge and develop, as if from primordial ooze or raw matter – although it is still hard to tell whether they are meant to be human.
The Max von Moos-Stiftung has given 30 works by the artist to the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg. New acquisitions of works by Hannah Höch, Unica Zürn and Fatoş İrwen were made possible for the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg through Julietta Scharf.
The exhibition is curated by Kyllikki Zacharias, head of the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg.
A special exhibition of the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
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