The exhibition E.Barlach and K.Kollwitz Beyond the Borders of Existence opened in the Modern Gallery

On Tuesday, October 6, the vernissage of the exhibition Ernst Barlach and Käthe KollwitzBeyond the Borders of Existence was opened in the Modern Gallery. This international art success story, which the Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft put on in collaboration with the Modern Gallery, is being held under the high patronage of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. Conceived as a retrospective and mounted in twelve rooms of the first floor of the grand Vrancyzany Palace, the exhibition presents more than sixty sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs of the most important German artists of early 20th century Expressionism, work created under the profound impression of the horrors of World War I and the misery of the post-war years. But the exhibition does not only give a retrospective review of the whole of the oeuvre of the two artists, but also mirrors their substantive dialogue with the present. Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz wanted to transgress the borders of existence in their works, but at the same time draw attention to these borders. The works of the two artists are never mutually contradictory, but supplement and augment each other, and poignantly address us to this day. Stored in them are current debates about social responsibility, poverty and wealth, empathy and political commitment as well as the human search for point in a reality disjointed by the global crises.The many invited guests were welcomed by director of the Gallery Biserka Rauter Plančić, by Heike Stockhaus, who devised and curated the exhibition, and Thomas E. Schulze, ambassador of the German Federal Republic to Croatia.In her address, Ms Rauter Plancic referred to the exceptional nature of the exhibition with which the Modern Gallery was celebrating the 110th anniversary of its founding, with which “we celebrate, constantly and lastingly, the prosperous activity of all generations of curators and directors.” The director thanked the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic and the city of Zagreb for helping to finance this project, and Privredna banka Zagreb and the Tourist Board of the city of Zagreb for their unfailing sponsorship of Modern Gallery programmes, and of course fellow curator Heike Stockhaus for excellent collaboration and a rich set-up that, especially for the Zagreb exhibition, involved the largest number of works by the two artists ever shown outside Germany. HE Mr Schultze said that it was “with joy and pride that he opened this great and magnificent exhibition”, thanking Ms Rauter Plancic, director of the Modern Gallery, for having worked so hard for the exhibition to come to Zagreb, and also Ms Stockhaus from the Ernst Barlach Foundation of Hamburg that had made the exhibition available, and added that the Foreign Ministry had been glad to help fund the exhibition. The Ambassador expressed the hope that the exhibition “would not only meet with recognition of its value but would leave a lasting trace: a wish for conciliation and peace and that it would awaken something that also defines our human existence: empathy for the other.”This exhibition is not a German cultural export product,” said Heike Stockhaus, creator and curator of the exhibition, “but a joint project between the Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft of Hamburg and the Zagreb Modern Gallery, which is endeavouring to prompt an intercultural and critical dialogue about the past, present and the future. The work of the two artists is very intelligible on streets around the world, without any need for art historical interpretation. All of us, who look at them, will reflect on not only the pictures of yesterday, of the past, but those of the present of our great cities, whether Zagreb, Berlin or anywhere in the world.” Ms Stockhaus presented the exhibition and the creative art of Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz:

“The works of both of them are at once a stimulus and a warning. They spur us to think about and to touch on our own present, for we too are looking into the future with concern and uncertainty. Today, a hundred years later, our social reality, in Croatia, in Germany and in Europe at large, or anywhere else, is faced with its social, economic and ecological borders.”

The exhibition will remain on view in the Modern Gallery until November 29, 2015.

The exhibition Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz Beyond the Borders of Existence has been co-produced by the Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft and the Modern Gallery of Zagreb. We want to thank the Ratzeburg Licence Administration, the Museum of Ernst Barlach, in Wedel and Ratzeburg, and all private loaners who placed their works at our disposal. For financial support we thank the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the city of Zagreb, the Zagreb Tourist Board, Privredna banka Zagreb and for help in the production of the exhibition the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Zagreb.

We thank the media sponsor of the exhibition Večernji list and all journalists who cover the work of the Modern Gallery.

Photo: Goran Vranić

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