Caspar David Friedrich, 2024: Art for a new age [group exhibition]

Neudecker, M (2023) Caspar David Friedrich, 2024: Art for a new age [group exhibition]. Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany, 15 December 2023 - 01 April 2024.

Item Type: Exhibition
Creators: Neudecker, M
Abstract: Major anniversary exhibition will show iconic works by Friedrich such as Chalk Cliffs on Rügen and The Monk by the Sea alongside recent artistic responses to Friedrich exploring new perspectives The Hamburger Kunsthalle will mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Caspar David Friedrich (1774 Greifswald–1840 Dresden) with a celebratory exhibition. CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH. Art for a New Age, to run from 15 December 2023 until 1 April 2024, will be the biggest review of work by the exceptional Romantic painter for many years. It centres on a themed retrospective with more than 60 paintings, among them many major iconic works, and about 100 drawings. The relationship between people and nature, which found novel expression in Friedrich’s landscapes, is a key thematic strand. His treatment of this subject was an essential factor, during the first third of the 19th century, towards transforming landscape painting into »art for a new age«. Also featured are about 20 selected works by colleagues such as Carl Gustav Carus, Johan Christian Dahl, August Heinrich and Georg Friedrich Kersting. Their paintings and studies build on Friedrich’s œuvre, but they also suggest new visions of nature. The deep fascination unleashed by Friedrich’s works has been enduring and they lend themselves with great facility to present-day issues, as demonstrated by a second, separate section of the exhibition, which will bring together responses to Friedrich in contemporary art. In contributions ranging from video and photography to installations, some 20 artists working across a variety of genres and media, both here in Germany and abroad, set out to explore the Romantic era, its attitude to nature, and the art of Caspar David Friedrich. The participants include Elina Brotherus, Julian Charrière, David Claerbout, Olafur Eliasson, Alex Grein, Hiroyuki Masuyama, Mariele Neudecker, Ulrike Rosenbach, Susan Schuppli, Santeri Tuori and Kehinde Wiley. Superb and extremely rare loans of paintings by Friedrich, among them Chalk Cliffs on Rügen (c.1818–1822), The Monk by the Sea (1808–1810) and Two Men Contemplating the Moon (1819/20), will be on show alongside works from the holdings of the Hamburger Kunsthalle such as Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (c.1817) and The Sea of Ice (1823/24). These works are Romantic icons. Friedrich applied his painterly skills to probing the ability of a landscape to express questions of his time, to tapping the potential associated with representations of nature and to finding ways to communicate with the viewer. His output of drawings was likewise prolific and the exhibition devotes special attention to these. Spending time in a natural outdoor environment in order to produce art was a distinctive characteristic of Romantic practice and essential to Friedrich’s œuvre. The exhibition honours the autonomous quality of his drawings and does not present them merely as studies of natural details to be integrated later into his paintings. Indeed, Friedrich’s sensitive attempts to capture nature are frequently reflections of his subjective standpoint. The unique atmosphere that speaks to us from Friedrich’s works with their powerful motifs and compositions has inspired many artists to enter into a dialogue with their Romantic colleague, especially given the current relevance of ecological issues. The tension between the gradual destruction of the environment and a yearning for »untouched nature« has been an unbroken force from the Romantic age down to our own times. In Friedrich’s day, however, the Romantic perception of nature carried national connotations, whereas today’s artists approach the natural world and climate change from a global perspective. In this spirit, the exhibition embraces recent work devoted to the darker sides and absences in Romantic art and later reactions to it. Colonialism and its impact on people and natural resources are as much a theme here as the Western, hegemonial concept of nature and its expressions in art. All in all, the show presents a broad spectrum of concrete visual reworkings, some of which express a far more abstract take on Friedrich’s specific technique and his themes. The exhibits include two big adaptations of Friedrich by the American artist Kehinde Wiley (*1977), which reflect critically on an art canon informed by white Western input. A colour circle by Olafur Eliasson (*1967) accurately reconfigures the pigments used in Friedrich’s painting The Sea of Ice, albeit in a very abstract composition. Ann Böttcher (*1973) shows drawings which address the forest motif and nationalistic projections of it. The photographs by Elina Brotherus, who at one point places herself in the frame in a nod to Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, raise issues about gender-based attitudes and ways of seeing in Romantic art. Finally, a video installation by David Claerbout (*1969) offers visitors a software-generated immersive experience of the natural environment.
Official URL:
Date: 15 December 2023
Event Location: Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2024 13:11
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 13:11
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)