Artwork of the Month

2021 October
Nam June Paik
Smiling Buddha (Buddha Looking at Old Candle TV)
1992

vintage metal monitor, bronze, candle
55 x 55 x 48 cm

Nam June Paik, Smiling Buddha (Buddha Looking at Old Candle TV), 1992 © Estate of Nam June Paik

“Television has attacked us for a lifetime, now we strike back.”

This statement was made by Nam June Paik, who takes aim for his counter-attack by placing a bronze buddha in front of a small old television set. The buddha is watching a burning candle in the TV. This candle is not an image on the screen, however, but a real lighted candle inside the television box. 

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2021 September
Isa Genzken
Yard
1990

concrete, steel frame
258 x 66 x 76 cm

Isa Genzken, Yard, 1990 © VG Bild-Kunst 2021, Bonn; ifa; Foto: Bernd Borchardt

A concrete sculpture is standing at head height on a frame of steel tubes. Three walls form a space approximating a cube, open only on one side and on the top—a kind of “yard.”
From the late 1980s, Isa Genzken, who was born in 1948, produced a number of these concrete sculptures.

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2021 August
Martin Kippenberger
We don’t have problems with depressions, as long, as they don’t get in fashion
1986

Photograph
500 x 600 mm

Martin Kippenberger, We don’t have problems with depressions, as long, as they don’t get in fashion, 1986 © Estate of Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne

“Some people like to talk, and I prefer that too, yes, better than painting, painting takes too long, that’s why I stopped it. Better to talk, talking is good.“ (Martin Kippenberger)

Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997) – a controversial artist whose name everyone knows. But who can really describe his work? He called himself an artist from a very young age, and then it took decades before he was recognised as one.

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2021 July
Herta Günther, geb. Bauer
Jorinde and Joringel
1957

Etching
19.5 x 29.7 cm

Herta Günther, 'Jorinde and Joringel', 1957, © (Herta Günther) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

Amidst a playful confusion of leaves, Jorinde and Joringel, two young lovers, get lost in a thicket. They come too near the ancient castle of a sorceress. The old witch turns Joringel to stone and transforms Jorinde into a nightingale and shuts her away in a cage. Joringel, now freed and a shepherd, dreams of a flower with whose help he can free Jorinde from the spell.

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2021 June
Joseph Beuys
How the dictatorship of the parties can be overcome
1971

Printed plastic bag made of polyethylene with an information leaflet and a felt object
75 x 51.5 cm

So kann die Parteiendiktatur überwunden werden, 1971, © (Joseph Beuys) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

To today's ears, the statement 'How the dictatorship of the parties can be overcome', which Beuys used to describe his campaign for a system of direct democracy, sounds like a demand from the anti-vaxxer scene. And many of those who are currently attending such events could certainly have been found amongst Beuys's circle during his lifetime.

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2021 May
Joseph Beuys
Information about energy bodies
1957

Pencil and ferric chloride on paper
17.5 x 27 cm

Information about energy bodies, 1957, © (Joseph Beuys) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

Sketched lines, heading to a vanishing point, open up a space, the idea of a landscape. A cocoon-like body dominates the sheet of paper. It is intensified by blurred lines of ferric chloride. Other grey smear marks move towards and into the body. Within, there is another round shape, which forms a kind of centre of the work.

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2021 April
Franz Erhard Walther
Drawings for the 1st Work Set
1963

Pencil, watercolour, body colour, oil (both sides)

Form gegen Material (Form versus Material) (re no.49, 1st Work Set), 28 x 21.6 cm, 1996 © (Franz Erhard Walther) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021
Handlungsaufriß (Projection of Action) (for No. 57, 1st Work Set), 29.7 x 20.9 cm, 1969 © (Franz Erhard Walther) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

The relationship between body, material, time and space is at the core of Franz Erhard Walther's work. It is these basic categories that the artist has been working on in a new and very unique way since the 1960s, starting with his 1st Work Set (1963-1969). A pioneer of participatory art, he considers the viewer to be part of the work being created.

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2021 March
Katharina Sieverding
MATON
1969

Colour photography
190 x 125 cm

Katharina Sieverding, "MATON", 1969 © (Katharina Sieverding) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

The close-up monumentally enlarges a face; only the neutrally closed mouth, the nose and slightly upward-looking eyes are shown. The individual visual layers appear to be x-rayed. The image information is coarse-grained and inscribed on the image carrier in black and red.

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2021 February
Thomas Ruff
From: Young People
1984

Colour photography, photo paper
26.9 x 20.9 cm each

Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021

Faces against neutral, monochrome backdrops. Soft light. Sober. The portraits are reminiscent of passport photos. The people portrayed are seen in profile, in half profile, or in frontal view. What do they reveal about themselves? Thomas Ruff, one of Bernd and Hilla Becher's best-known students, took a strictly conceptual approach to his series: each subject looks into the camera with a neutral facial expression. The social surroundings are faded out, appearance and clothing remain. What conclusions can be drawn about character?

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2021 January
Katharina Fritsch
Panther and shelf with 8 figures
1992

Polyester, paint, wood, plaster
90cm high, Ø 160cm and 240 x 100 x 100cm 1992/94

Katharina Fritsch, Panther and shelf with 8 figures, 1992/94 © (Katharina Fritsch) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2020

A conspiratorial circle, or a moment of discharging before mutual attack?

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2020 December
(e.) Twin Gabriel
Lemonade. From Africa
1996

Plankton cultures, water basins, Ytong blocks, mercury vapour lamps
80 x 80 x 80 cm each

(e.) Twin Gabriel, Lemonade. From Africa, 1996, photo: John Hammond © (Twin Gabriel) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2020

Five white, cube-shaped pedestals, each surmounted by a green cube of the same size, stand in a row. Above each cube hangs a silver lamp, illuminating a cloudy green liquid: plankton. Formally, the structure is reminiscent of a serial sculpture in the tradition of minimalism, and yet the viewer seems rather to be present at a scientifically inspired experiment. Unusual for a museum context, the plankton is alive. The artwork's other materials come not from a traditional art supply shop but from a DIY market. The base is made of commercially available Ytong blocks, the cubes are aquariums of simple glass.

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2020 November
Helga Paris
'Winsstraße mit Taube' (Winsstraße with Pigeon)
1970

Black-and-white photograph, silver gelatin print
26 x 38.5 cm

Helga Paris, 'Winsstraße mit Taube' (Winsstrasse with Pigeon), 1970s, photograph © Helga Paris

A street lost in fog. Here and there people walk on the wide pavements. An advertising sign hangs on a façade eaten away by time: 'Werner Wendt, Hat Shapes Model Making, Ground-Floor'. Parked on the street, one after another, almost always the same car model. A pigeon flies into the grey nothingness.

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