Wolfgang Max Faust

  • Jimmy Pike

    Increasingly work by third-world artists is being included in the dialogue on where art may be heading in the aftermath of this Eurocentric age. The series “Artists of the World” has been launched with the show entitled “Jimmy Pike—Paintings from the Great Australian Sand Desert.” Pike is an Australian aboriginal, from a nomadic family that settled down to work a cattle ranch. In 1980, after killing a man in a fight, Pike was sentenced to life imprisonment. In prison, he began making art under the guidance of two teachers. Adopting the imagery of his ancestors, he tied it to Western techniques:

  • Positionenheutiger Kunst”; “Stationen Der Moderne

    The sense of being at the end of a century provokes various cultural undertakings. On the one hand, we see a “revision of modernity,” an attempt to transcend Modernist concepts and launch a discourse characterized by the buzzword “post-Modernism.” On the other hand, we find large-scale efforts to sum up and record the quintessential achievements of this century. At the end of a year promoting Berlin as the “Culture City of Europe,” two events here constituted exemplary models of both kinds of endeavors.

    One such event was the Nationalgalerie’s exhibition “Positionen Heutiger Kunst” (Positions of

  • Ange Leccia

    The French object artist Ange Leccia was responsible for some excitement at last year’s Documenta in Kassel. In the Orangerie he showed a brand new Mercedes on a revolving pedestal. The deep blue color of the car was identical with that of the pedestal, which functioned as a kind of barrier to the object itself. The object of seduction—also the title of the work—could not be touched. Leccia calls his works “arrangements.” He avoids the use of the term “installation” because it seems to him to be too physical. Behind this concept of arrangement, there is a respect for the object itself. These

  • A. R. Penck

    Since 1980, when A.R. Penck moved from East to West Germany, he has become one of the most important painters in contemporary German art. The 137 paintings, drawings, and watercolors in this retrospective impressively document his development. From its start in the early ’60s, Penck’s oeuvre as a whole has constituted a discourse, for the works coalesce into something like an overall text. At the core of Penck’s art is a yearning for a universal human sign-language. The “system paintings,” as the artist calls them, transmit signals and information concerning social as well as historical conditions.

  • Joseph Beuys

    Two years after Joseph Beuys’ death, some of the questions concerning the presentation of his work are commercial ones: how will the unsold works be marketed; how will curators, dealers, and collectors handle Beuys’ false datings? With the mounting of several exhibitions on both sides of the Berlin wall, it has become obvious that other questions are tied to deeper concerns about the power of Beuys’ artmaking activity to sustain its meaning now that the artist who so carefully guided its presentation is gone. For Beuys saw his “works”—his drawings, sculptures, and installations—as manifestations

  • “Emotope: A Project of Büro Berlin”

    For several years now the projects organized by Büro Berlin have been a staple of the Berlin art scene. The goal of their work is to make art more independent of established institutions (i.e., galleries. museums). Sites and situations are sought out that connect artwork with social, historical, and economic experience. “Emotope,” 1987, their most recent project, was organized by Raimund Kummer and Fritz Rahmann (two artists/administrators of Büro Berlin) together with the Künstlerhaus Bethanien. They and ten other international artists created ten projects at various locations throughout Berlin.

  • Humbert Kiecol

    The Hamburg artist Hubert Kiecol has become well known within the German art scene in recent years for his miniature concrete architectural units—houses and stairways. Reducing the sculptural statement to a minimum, they represented a countertendency to the hypertrophic forms in so many contemporary paintings and environmental installations. At the same time, through architecture’s repertory of familiar forms, the works established a connection with the public sphere. But this very connection was also a weakness, for the basic architectural forms, which were given their own autonomous value,

  • “Die Moral der Gegenstände”

    This exhibition on the Ulm Academy of Design, a school that is legendary in West Germany for its postwar design work, comes at a time when imaginative new developments in contemporary design have caught the art world’s attention. Initiated and sponsored by the Olivetti Group, and cu-rated by Herbert Lindinger, “Die Moral der Gegenstände: Die Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm 1953–1968” (The ethics of objects: the Ulm Academy of Design 1953–1968) was mounted at the Bauhaus Archive in West Berlin. The Ulm Academy was the acknowledged heir to the Bauhaus, although it never achieved the latter’s widespread

  • ter Hell

    Ten years of work by the 32-year-old Berlin painter ter Hell was presented in this double exhibition of 99 works at the Galerie Pels-Leusden and four large paintings at Galerie Fahnemann. The effect was like an explosion, with the energy that manifests itself in this artist’s work made visible all at once. ter Hell has always played a kind of “outsider” role in Berlin, preferring to carve out a territory of his own rather than participate in any of the established art trends. His work, which stems from gestural abstraction, searches for the boundary between chaos and order. It is based on the

  • Androgyn

    You can see it in the shape of the human body: woman and man must have belonged together once, must have been one single creature. The myths of almost every people tell the story of dual-sexed, primordial human beings, of gods that embody both man and woman. Today, after the collapse of traditional, stable role models for “male” and “female”—and after the “sexual revolution”—it would seem that the theme of androgyny is a particularly hot one. In the pop culture of the rock stars (Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Boy George, Prince), androgyny is a fascinating lure for the masses. It offers opportunities

  • Eugen Schönebeck

    How can art, as the intersection of the individual and society, bring about change? This question was posed by an exhibition of work by Eugen Schönebeck who stopped exhibiting in the mid ’60s, and had ceased to make art altogether by 1966. The 50 drawings on view here, which had never before been publicly shown, were all done between 1960 and 1964, the period of his friendship with Georg Baselitz. At that time Schönebeck and Baselitz cultivated the role of the artist as radical, antibourgeois outsider. In their two famous “Pandämonische Manifeste” (Pandemonic manifestos, 1963) they sketched an

  • Ina Barfuss

    Ina Barfuss is among the few West German women painters who has managed to keep a high profile in the Federal Republic since the advent of “New Painting” at the end of the ’70s. Painting in Germany is still a male domain, and the question of why this is so has yet to be satisfactorily answered. Conventional role consciousness is still more widespread in painting than in any other medium. Barfuss’ works specifically address this problem while at the same time reflecting on the more general question of the relationship between the sexes. The artist does not illustrate these relationships but

  • Endart

    Endart is a typical West Berlin phenomenon—an artist group that has lived, worked, and exhibited outside the established art world, in Kreuzberg (a sort of Berlin equivalent of New York’s East Village), since 1980. The members of the group reject the conventional notion of the artist as a special individual. Close to the Berlin Wall in a rundown quarter of the city with an unusual population mix —pensioners, students, punks, artists, Turkish workers—Endart owns a “gallery” that changes its name and direction for almost every exhibition. Analogously, they work in all the media—painting, posters,

  • Europa/Amerika

    Europa/Amerika. Die Geschichte einer künstlerischen Faszination seit 1940” (Europe/America. History of an artistic fascination since 1940) was the ambitious title of the first special exhibit presented by the Museum Ludwig. But the show was a boring disaster. Crowded into shoebox spaces, the theme was presented in the form of a confrontation between 60 American and 66 European artists. Each room had its common denominator (abstraction, figuration, montage), yet the choice of both artists and works seemed in the final analysis arbitrary, since almost no dialogue developed. What does a series of

  • Joseph Beuys

    With the death of Joseph Beuys, in January 1986, an epoch in German art came to a close. Questions arise: in what fashion will Beuys’ work live on; how does it affect the present; and in what way will it define the future? In September 1986, in conjunction with the spectacular show at Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, this gallery presented the first large-scale exhibition of a group of works from the artist’s estate: Blitzschlag mit Lichtschein auf Hirsch (Lightning with stag in its glare, 1958–1986). The installation was organized by Heiner Bastian, a longtime intimate friend of Beuys, and brought

  • Olaf Metzel

    In 1987, Berlin—that is to say in this schizophrenic city, West Berlin and East Berlin—will celebrate the 750th anniversary of its founding. Among the activities planned for the western half of the city is a “Skulpturenboulevard” that will supply the Kurfürstendamm (Berlin’s Fifth Avenue) with “contemporary” sculpture. The artists who have been invited to participate in this project are from West Berlin, or rather do most of their work there: Frank Dornseif, Josef Erben, Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Brigitte and Martin Matschinsky-Denninghoff, Olaf Metzel, George Rickey, Rolf Szymanski,

  • Heinz Emigholz

    Since the early ’70s the Hamburg-based filmmaker Heinz Emigholz has been producing films based on inflexible, predetermined structural concepts. His Schenec-Tady 1 bis 3 (Schenec-Tady 1 to 3, 1975) is a “Landschaftsfilm” (landscape film), a quick-fire sequence of single shots taken by a camera mounted at a set point in the landscape and programmed to turn on its axis. The “naturalness” of the landscape is translated into a series of signs that thematize the artificiality of a representation. Normalsatz (Standard rate, 1981) places this theme into a social context, reducing language and the

  • Markus Lüpertz

    Berliners were recently offered a dramatic restaging of Markus Lüpertz sculptures and paintings, primarily from the mid ’70s to the present, in four concurrent shows. Lüpertz work assimilates and transforms the formal vocabularies of Modernism—especially Cubism, but also Symbolism and gestural painting—into a flamboyant expressionistic style. What seemingly has become a necessary adjunct to the work is the public persona of the artist himself, who, with media savvy and a tremendous output of energy, insistently plays the genius, the macho man, the jewel-studded dandy—a kind of Muhammad Ali of

  • Peter Bömmels

    Pictorial depth is becoming a significant issue in the current international discussion about art. American critics have been advancing the concept of depth as a fundamental ingredient of contemporary artistic endeavor (from German neo-Expressionism to Julian Schnabel), citing Theodor W. Adorno’s characterization of depth as “a dialectic in which content, far from being expunged, surfaces again as a result of form’s relation to the irreconcilable.” From a German point of view, the American fascination with an “art of depth” is entirely understandable. Conversely, however, one has the impression

  • Thomas Wachweger

    Contemporary West German painting is currently going through a difficult phase. Following the well-publicized boom of Neo-Expressionism, doubts have begun to arise. Art has become a social spectacle to such an extraordinary degree that it has begun to suffer from its own popularity. Of course, there are still plenty of artists who offer the public just what it demands, but Neo-Expressionism’s exhaustion, its dull repetition, is clearly evident. By way of counterreaction, artists who chose to remain outside the mainstream are now becoming more visible.

    The Berlin painter Thomas Wachweger is among