Artwork of the Month

ifa presents an exhibit from its Touring Exhibitions. In the Touring Exhibitions ifa presents contemporary art from Germany worldwide. After years of travelling through international museums, the exhibitions are transferred to the ifa's art collection, which houses several thousand works of art—works ranging from Rebecca Horn to Gerhard Richter, from Helga Paris to Marcel Odenbach.

With the exhibition 'Weltreise' (Travelling the World), curated by Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen, for the first time a comprehensive and at the same time exemplary insight into ifa's exhibits was given. The exhibition was opened in 2013 at ZKM in Karlsruhe, and has since been presented at nine locations—as its journey around the world continues!

The series 'Artwork of the Month' is intended to expand access to ifa's invisible art collection and offer a glimpse 'behind the scenes'. The 'Artwork of the Month' will be presented as the original in ifa Gallery in Stuttgart and will be published digitally.

July 2021 | Herta Günther, née Bauer

Jorinde and Joringel, 1957

19.5 x 29.7 cm

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.

The fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm is divided into six scenes, which wind in traditional reading direction, from left to right and from top to bottom, around a tree in the middle of the picture. The etching captivates the viewer with the most diverse grey tones, which Herta Günther engenders alone through the contour-lines of leaves and shrubs. The expressive and playful lines fascinate and their inventiveness surprises down to the smallest detail in ever fresh and suspenseful forms. The picture remains nevertheless legible, for the two main characters always stand out amid the growth of leaves and branches.

The etching is part of an entire series devoted to the Grimms' fairy tales. It was made in 1957, when the young artist, still using her maiden name of Herta Bauer, had just completed her studies at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts and was accepted into the Association of Graphic Artists in the GDR. The drawing found its way into the collection of ifa in 1992, together with 14,000 other graphics, after the dissolution of the Centre for Art Exhibitions of the GDR (ZFK). Like ifa, the ZFK organized exhibitions at home and abroad, including on behalf of the Association of Graphic Artists. It was probably in this way that the drawing entered the collection of the ZFK.

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

June 2021 | Joseph Beuys

How the dictatorship of the parties can be overcome, 1971, © (Joseph Beuys) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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

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. The artist described himself as a healer and shaman, cultivated close relationships not only with anthroposophists and esotericists, but also with wartime comrades and old Nazis. Beuys's biography, long since meticulously combed through and appraised, continues to spark controversies that the artist, who was himself always keen to debate, would surely have enjoyed.

The initiative to introduce direct democracy through referendum, which Beuys promoted with his plastic bag containing an information leaflet and piece of felt, started in 1971, around 50 years ago. A diagram on one side of the plastic bag displays the theses on the advantages of a direct democracy and the disadvantages of a parliamentary one. On the other side is a drawing in which Beuys outlines the overcoming of the party dictatorship. In 1972 he set up an office at documenta 5 where he discussed these theses with visitors for the entire 100 days of the exhibition. The bags could be purchased at the documenta.

Beuys's commitment to direct democracy must be understood in the context of his theory of social sculpture, according to which each individual possesses the ability to contribute to the well-being of the community through his or her creativity. It is not enough to view Beuys's plastic bag in a selective way from today's perspective; the ambiguity of the 10,000-fold multiple should be perceived as an essential quality. Alone the different contexts in which the bag can appear create different possibilities of reception. For example, in the ifa exhibition 'Eine lange Geschichte mit vielen Knoten - Fluxus in Deutschland 1962 – 1994' ('A long history with many knots - Fluxus in Germany 1962 – 1994'), the plastic bag could be seen from 1995 to 2012 in various places around the world. The work has been part of the ifa exhibition Travelling the World since 2013.

May 2021 | Joseph Beuys

Information about energy bodies, 1957

Pencil and ferric chloride on paper
17.5 x 27 cm

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. A space towards which all lines flee and in which their energies are concentrated. This drawing by Beuys conveys 'information about energy bodies'. This information, however, is rendered accessible not through words but through simple lines on a piece of paper.

In his theory of 'Social Sculpture', Beuys formulates the idea that every human being can contribute to the well-being of the community through creative action and thus exercise a plastic, formative and transformative effect on society. 'The only revolutionary force is the force of human creativity' (Beuys). In his drawings, as Beuys himself repeatedly emphasized, he developed his theories and ideas as an illustration of shaping forms of thoughts. His graphic works are thought-images that are accessible on a sensual level. In the present drawing, viewers can put themselves in the concrete position of the energy bodies, which Beuys could also have realized as installations in physical space.

The drawing 'Information about energy bodies' was shown in the ifa touring exhibition 'Beuys: Drawings, Objects and Prints.' The exhibition started in Sydney in 1990 and, after 44 stops on over five continents, ended in Naples in 2004. What does it mean for an artistic work to travel so far and be seen in so many countries? And what do these drawings mean for us today, almost 65 years after they were made?

For the anniversary of the artist's 100th birthday, which takes place this year, Beuys's drawings will be brought into dialogue with contemporary positions represented by Andrea Acosta, Anne Duk Hee Jordan and Sara Ouhaddou in the ifa gallery Berlin.

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

April 2021 | Franz Erhard Walther

Drawings for the 1st Work Set

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

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.
The objects of the 1st Work Set are made of cotton, foam and wood and their dimensions relate to the human body. In interaction with the objects, the visitor's body can become a sculpture and action becomes a work form ('Werkform'). At the same time, viewers can also activate the objects in their minds. Their thinking, their language, their perception, fantasies and emotions in time and space can serve as material for the work.

Walther has expressly named the drawings for 1st Work Set 'work drawings'. For him, they have a claim to being independent artistic works parallel to work actions ('Werkhandlungen'), despite their fragmentary character.
In his statements, Walther emphasizes the diversity of the drawing as sketch, notation, draft, plan drawing, construction, autonomous drawing, and diagram. Many of these drawing methods can also be found in the work drawings. Terms, linguistic formulations of courses of action, representations of actions, graphic elements and pictorial surfaces overlap and form their own graphic language.

Works by Walther can currently be seen in the touring exhibitions The Event of a Thread and Travelling the World. Art from Germany. ifa has also organized a tour of the monographic exhibition Franz Erhard Walther. Workpieces Drawings from 1991 - 1993.

Fassung auf dem Sockel (Version on the Base) (for No. 23, 1st Work Set), 29.7 x 20.9 cm, 1967/1969 © (Franz Erhard Walther) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021
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

March 2021 | Katharina Sieverding

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

MATON 1969

Colour photography
190 x 125 cm

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.

For her work MATON, Katharina Sieverding used a passport photo of herself taken in a photo booth. The original image has been repeatedly photographed and reworked into a mask that glistens before the viewer. As a result of this transformation, the self-portrait has increasingly lost its individuality. The actual portrait character of the picture now blurs into the general and has become a projection surface for the viewer. Familiar categories break open; what is seen can no longer be easily classified.

The title MATON refers to the photo booth, the Photomaton, developed by Anatol Josepho and presented to the world in 1925; but the French meaning of the word 'maton' – prison guard – also opens up a way into the work.

Sieverding has significantly developed the expressive possibilities of photography since the 1960s. Her self-portraits have always been a central motif in treating the medium. Her works question conventional identity and gender constructions.

MATON was acquired by the ifa in 1992 for the exhibition FotoKunst and is currently on tour in the exhibition Travelling the World. In 1997 the ifa accompanied Sieverding's contribution to the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The exhibition was curated by Gudrun Inboden and also showed the work of Gerhard Merz.

February 2021 | Thomas Ruff

From: Young People

Colour photography, photo paper
26.9 x 20.9 cm each

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?

As Thomas Ruff himself says, the inner truth of a person can never be represented in a picture. Images are constructs. To become aware of this is something Ruff constantly reminds the viewers of in his works.

The 40 photographs in the series were taken between 1983 and 1987 at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and show his fellow students in a living situation similar to his own. What are the characters and life stories of these art students?

The facial features, the hairstyle, the make-up, the jewellery and the clothing afford a view of the surface, but not the 'inner truth' of the person. In these days, the series evokes associations of virtual meetings at which everyone, frontal and flat, has taken care to leave out the home life with which every single person is connected.

Since the end of the 1980s, Ruff has opted to work with a neutral white background and to present his portraits in monumental format, far larger than life. The photo series 'Young People' marks the beginning of his international fame.

Works by Ruff have been on tour for ifa in the exhibition 'Traveling the World' since 2013. In 1995, ifa supported Ruff's contribution to the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which was curated by Jean-Christophe Ammann and also showed works by Martin Honert and Katharina Fritsch.

Portrait of a young man by the artist Thomas Ruff
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Portrait of a young woman by the artist Thomas Ruff
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Portrait of a young woman by the artist Thomas Ruff
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Portrait of a young man by the artist Thomas Ruff
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Portrait of a young woman by the artist Thomas Ruff
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021
Portrait of a young man by the artist Thomas Ruff
Thomas Ruff, From: Young People, 1984-87, © (Thomas Ruff) VG-Bild Kunst Bonn, 2021

October 2020 | Hanns Schimansky


Collage, ink, coloured pencil
62.5 x 45 cm

An orange tracing paper dominates almost the entire collage. The paper shows various signs of use; it is folded, crumpled and smoothed out again. Lines resulting from the folding run straight across the entire paper or form a tangle of ramifications. The glossy surface reflects light in all directions.

At the top left of the collage can be seen a series of blue pencil dots. Each individual point has its peculiarities, is more or less extended, has a direction, or stays where it is. The individual rows of the series form waves that merge into one another and, finally, are submerged into the orange. In the background, a network of dark lines shows through from the back of the paper. Layers of different, transparent materials overlap in the work. In the centre is a piece of white paper, torn off on one side in a wavy line.

Hanns Schimansky is a draftsman, and as such an inventor, discoverer and researcher. He develops his formal language from observing his surroundings. The coast on which he grew up and the city in which he lives provide him with diverse ideas. His drawings constantly reformulate his observations, varying, abbreviating and experimenting with them.

Schimansky concentrates himself with all his senses on the medium of drawing. He is one of those artists who have dedicated themselves entirely to working with and on paper. For him, drawing is a direct, purposeful treatment of the medium. Being a draftsman means for him setting something against the dizzying media world – slowing down.

The ifa art collection includes 11 collages by Hanns Schimansky, which he created in the early 1990s. Another drawing from 1983 comes from the holdings of the Centre for Art Exhibitions of the GDR, whose collection was merged with that of ifa after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

untitled artwork by Hanns Schimansky
Hanns Schimansky, untitled, 1993, © Hanns Schimansky

January 2021 | Katharina Fritsch

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

Panther and shelf with 8 figures

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

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

Eight black panthers are seated opposite each other in a circle. Nobody is allowed in their midst. Frozen in polyester is not only the moment of snarling: their bodies are life-size and identical in appearance. This moment of muscular tension is contrasted by a high, shelf-like white platform with eight small white figures. They are replicas of devotional objects depicting St. Catherine of Siena, holding a lily and a rosary. The intermediate spaces give rhythm to the ensemble, which is also arranged in a circle, and make it appear to be in motion.

Viewed individually, the figures appear strangely familiar. If you search for the term 'panther sculpture' on the internet, you will find numerous variants of decorative figures, made of either shiny porcelain or artificial stone. The artist Katharina Fritsch took one of these mass-produced commodities as a model and enlarged it many times over. Her inspiration is the everyday: she doesn't devalue decorations, knick-knacks or devotional items, but rather elevates them through an elaborate manufacturing process and perfectly symmetrical staging.

The circular shape and symmetrical arrangement of identical objects, which have become Fritsch's basic motif, let familiarity tip over into the mysterious and uncanny. The monochrome matt black of the panthers, which absorbs all light and prevents the surroundings from being reflected, and the super-elevated snow-white devotional figures, reinforce this ambivalent moment between familiarity and repulsion, wit and anxiety.

The combined presentation of Fritsch's Panther and shelf with 8 figures and her earlier work Wühltisch (Bargain Table) (1987/89) was part of the ifa touring exhibition 'Embodied Logos: 14 women artists from Germany'. Panther and shelf with 8 figures has been on view in the ifa exhibition 'Travelling the World' since 2013. In 1995 Katharina Fritsch showed her extensive work Museum alongside works by Martin Honert and Thomas Ruff at the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Text: Laura Wünsche

December 2020 | (e.) Twin Gabriel

Lemonade. From Africa

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

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.

In the early 1990s, the artist Else Gabriel came across two ring binders at a Berlin flea market. She described her find as follows: '192 b/w photocopies of typewritten texts and originally coloured gouaches [...] and some collaged images of animals and newspaper odds and ends. It's about Africa. Don't ask. Buy. Wasn't expensive. 1 DM each.' On another slip of paper, a note: 'Lemonade. From Africa.'

Is this note really the starting point for the work? Green lemonade made from plankton? And why 'From Africa'? 'Plankton', translated from the ancient Greek, means 'wandering, drifting about'. Who is doing the wandering and the drifting? The plankton or the author of the note, or we standing before the shimmering green aquariums? At any rate, the artist doesn't ask questions; she buys, acts, and leaves the resultant work to respond to any enquiries.

'Sometimes no answer comes of a question, especially of a particularly good question, but rather, if you look at the question carefully, only, even so, a better question.' (G. W. F. Hegel)

The artist name (e.) Twin Gabriel stands for the artist couple Else Gabriel and Ulf Wrede. They have been working together since the late 1980s. The subversive investigations of their performances and installations retain the sceptical and ironic attitude that they practiced in the GDR.

The work Lemonade. From Africa and other works by (e.) Twin Gabriel were on view from 2000 - 2008 at the ifa exhibition QUOBO - Art in Berlin 1989-1999

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

November 2020 | Helga Paris

Black and white photography of a street with a flying pigeon.
Helga Paris, 'Winsstraße mit Taube' (Winsstrasse with Pigeon), 1970s, photograph © Helga Paris

'Winsstraße mit Taube' (Winsstraße with Pigeon)

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

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.

The calm gaze with which Helga Paris captured her neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, is characteristic of her photographs. They have a simple poetry that lets the viewer feel the familiarity and social empathy with which Paris shows everyday life in the GDR. Her interest and affection belong to the proletarian milieu of the big city.

Paris is a self-taught photographer and first took pictures of her children, then family, friends and neighbours. Coming from a working-class family, she possesses the ability to get close to the people around her, in the corner bars and in the streets. During these encounters, her camera is often invisible to the people photographed. Her friend the poet Elke Erb calls the look with which Paris meets people 'cradle honesty'.

The monographic ifa exhibition  Helga Paris has been on tour since 2012. It displays the artist's photographic work created between 1968 and 2011.

September 2020 | Gabriel Rossell Santillán

Obsidiano from Gabriel Rossell Santillán
Gabriel Rossell Santillán, Obsidiano, 2006, photo: ifa, © Gabriel Rossell Santillán


Video Installation, Mini DV on DVD, Obsidian Stone, Laptop and Labyrinth

The obsidian is not a metaphor. Facing a lap-top, the volcanic stone is the projection surface for a ceremony in the Dahlem Archive, which should only be seen through relations in opacity; the images projected were not meant to be shown in direct light or unfiltered, or exposed to mass-media. Like a painting from the Dutch school, only a few viewers can approach the installation. Obsidiano takes the video back to the space of painting, even though film as a medium was meant to project moving images to the masses. Due to the reduced viewing space and the video’s short duration, the public is obliged to move towards the obsidian and to rotate. In this way, the installation’s screening inverts the role of film (for example, cinema): Instead of reaching the masses, the obsidian attracts the viewers to it, taking them to the temporality of ceremonial space.

The chants of Mara’akame1 Dionisio in Berlin’s anthropological museum made the institution tremble. During the ceremony, the museum was stripped bare from the aura of classification and knowledge that it usually represents. Dionisio’s presence transformed the space in which the offerings and ceremonial utensils were located and thus took off the museum’s mask of 'otherness'.

'Obsidiano' opens a ceremonial space between the obsidian and the lap-top, a space in which the viewer’s body becomes a medium for interaction, allowing participation and exchange. Through the body, the viewers sense how colonial structures fracture, social relations transform and social representations are re-made.

The installation 'Obsidiano' was created in 2006 and acquired in 2016 for the exhibit 'Politics of Sharing: On Collective Wisdom'. The exhibit was developed as a co-production between the ifa Galleries and the Artspace Auckland in New Zealand. In January 2021, 'Obsidiano' will be shown again at the ifa Gallery Stuttgart in the context of the exhibit 'A Natural Order of Things. Lothar Baumgarten. Gabriel Rossell Santillán'.

Text: Andrea Meza Torres
Andrea Meza Torres completed her doctorate at Humboldt’s Institute of European Ethnology (Berlin); from 2016 to 2018 she was Postdoctoral Fellow at the CEIICH of the UNAM, in Mexico City, where she researched about the topic 'Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue from a Decolonial Perspective'.

1 Mara’akame (which has been translated into Spanish as 'Cantador' by the Wixáritari community) is a person with a special task within the Wixáritari community. A Mara’akame communicates with other subjects through singing in ceremonies. The subjects can be of  human or non-human nature, alive or not alive.

August 2020 | Joseph Beuys

'Ich kenne kein Weekend' (Never Heard of Weekends)

Maggi bottle, book (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason)
multiple, 95 copies
15 x 20 x 20 cm

A Maggi bottle next to the Critique of Pure Reason. It is not exactly easy to relate the two objects that Joseph Beuys juxtaposed in the edition work Ich kenne kein Weekend.
The Critique of Pure Reason, the main epistemological work of the important German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, published in 1781, and Maggi, a seasoning that was an essential item in any West German household of the 1970s, when the artwork was created.

Both objects are roughly the same size and colour-matched. On the typical yellow Reclam book-cover the viewer can see a red stamp: 'BEUYS: Ich kenne kein Weekend' ('Never Heard of Weekends'), which corresponds to the red of the Maggi bottle. Formally, the objects are on an equal footing; yet the milestone in the history of philosophy is not usually found next to a spice bottle in the kitchen. By placing the two 'ready-mades' next to one other, Beuys invites the viewer to think the objects together. He spices Kant’s ideas with simple everyday culture. He breaks open categories and hierarchies.
In his theory of 'social sculpture', Beuys sought to integrate everyday life into art. His statement 'Everyone is an artist' places on each of us the responsibility to change society with our own creative actions every day of the week.

Ich kenne kein Weekend is currently on tour with the exhibition Travelling the World. Art from Germany. In 1990 Götz Adriani curated for ifa the monographic exhibition Beuys, Drawings - Objects – Prints, which was on tour until 2004. Further works by Beuys could be seen in the ifa touring exhibition 'Fluxus in Deutschland' ('Fluxus in Germany') (1995-2012).

ifa is looking forward to the Beuys Year 2021, when the artist and his work will be honoured on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

A Maggi bottle next to Kants Critique of Pure Reason. On the yellow book-cover the viewer can see a red stamp BEUYS, Ich kenne kein Weekend.
Joseph Beuys, 'Ich kenne kein Weekend' (Never Heard of Weekends), 1972, photo: Uwe Walter © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2020, for Joseph Beuys

July 2020 | Karin Sander

A polished rectangular surface on a wall to a high gloss. Light falling on it is reflected by the mirror-smooth spot.
Karin Sander, 'Wandstück' (Wall Piece), 1994, photo: Maximilian Bauer, © (Karin Sander) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2020

'Wandstück' (Wall Piece)

Wall paint, polished
42 x 59.4 cm

Karin Sander's work 'Wandstück' is inconspicuous and hardly even noticeable. The artist has polished a rectangular surface on a wall to a high gloss. Light falling on it is reflected by the mirror-smooth spot.

Neither paint nor pigment was used to create an image. Instead, the artist sanded away a very thin layer of wall with extremely fine sandpaper. This process emphasizes the peculiarities of the wall, putting its properties into question. The wall, traditionally the bearer of the picture, becomes the picture itself – picture and wall lie on the same plane. Where does artwork begin and what is wall? With her works Sander repeatedly questions and renegotiates the basic conditions of art.

Sander has created polished wall pieces for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and for the Stuttgart State Art Gallery. They have become a kind of trademark of hers.

Sander has also created a version of 'Wandstück' for ifa Stuttgart. She selected a wall in the walk-through area in front of the 'Weltraum', a room of ifa in which public events take place. Other works of art by Karin Sander were represented in the ifa touring exhibition 'Embodied Logos: 14 women artists from Germany', and are also currently on display in the exhibition Travelling the World. Art from Germany.

June 2020 | Dieter Roth

'Gemischter Kopfsalat' (Mixed Head Lettuce)

Screen print, lithography, etching in zinc and drawing, in twelve colours on Hahnemühle laid paper
69.5 x 89.5 cm

This doesn’t look like a tasty, healthy salad. If we strip off the individual layers of Dieter Roth's 'Gemischter Kopfsalat', do we get to the heart of the work, to the issues that have occupied the artist throughout his life? Or do we end up standing in front of just a collection of confused ideas?

Alone the different printing techniques and number of colours used depict the complex nature of the work: screen printing, lithography, etching in zinc and drawing, in twelve colours on Hahnemühle handmade paper. The layers superimposed on each other result in an impenetrable tangle of information. The round shape that fills the print is reminiscent of the two halves of a brain. In the course of viewing the image, we see new details, but have difficulty extracting them from the grey matter. Just as it is sometimes with our own thoughts.

Dieter Roth was at home in all the genres of art. He worked as a visual artist, book designer, musician and filmmaker, poet and author. He became known for his works made of transitory materials that undergo a process of gradual change and decay. In the print 'Gemischter Kopfsalat', he addresses these processes of dissolution on a visual level.

Roth was engaged in several exhibitions for ifa, including 'Fluxus' and Travelling the World. Art from Germany. 'Gemischter Kopfsalat' was created as a print run for ifa.

Mixed Head Lettuce by Dieter Roth
Dieter Roth, 'Gemischter Kopfsalat' (Mixed Head Lettuce), 1977, © Dieter Roth Estate, Courtesy the Estate and Hauser & Wirth