April 5, 2014 - July 6, 2014
At the exhibition participate works from the collection of Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein)
The K20 explores in its exhibition the complex subject of the white surface in the works of Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. White was for the avant-garde pioneers not only an element in their colour palette – it was a symbol of a future world.
At the beginning of the 20th century many artists distanced themselves from art as imitation of reality. Among those who began to explore abstraction were Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. What distinguished these three avant-garde artists was that they saw non-representational art as the harbinger of a higher spirituality and a new social order. They felt that every step taken away from naturalistic imagery and in the direction of pure line, colour and form brought them greater freedom.
The white surface played a crucial role for all three artists. In Malevich’s paintings, the white background is a void before which his geometric shapes seem to float. White was for Malevich non-objectivity in utmost perfection –evoking the ideal of a positively evolving society. With great enthusiasm, he urged his fellow artists in 1919 to “swim in the white free abyss, infinity is before you”. For Wassily Kandinsky, the white field symbolises a world in which all colours have vanished. White, according to Kandinsky, “affects our psyche like a silence of great magnitude.... This is not a dead silence. It is full of potential.” Piet Mondrian’s panel paintings, with their juxtaposition of the primary colours red, yellow and blue with the non-colours white, black and grey, express a longing for universal harmony.
Numerous exhibitions have been devoted over the years to the work of these important avant-garde artists – but now the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen is for the first time showing at the K20 works from the years 1909 to 1941 selected specifically for their handling of the colour white. The exhibition will in addition examine in detail the influences to which the three artists were subjected in their day, conveying these by way of interdisciplinary presentations.
Based on the artistic concepts of the three avant-garde painters, the contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson is developing in conjunction with the Kunstsammlung a room designed to rensensitise viewers and prepare them in a surprising way for the exhibition while permanently raising their awareness of the complex perceptual and material qualities of white.
Curators: Marion Ackermann, Isabelle Malz
Assitant Curator: Ansgar Lorenz
With thematically interrelated exhibitions, numerous actions across the cityscape and a lively festival programme, Quadriennale Düsseldorf is devoting itself from 5 April to 10 August 2014 to the topic “Beyond Tomorrow”. Thirteen museums, art venues and partner institutes are taking part in the fine arts festival. One of them is Kunstsammlung Düsseldorf, participating in 2014 with the exhibitionKadinsky, Malevich, Mondrian: The White Abyss of Identity.
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