Berlin (dpa) – Even spectacular collections can have their shortcomings. “Very masculine and not global” is the story of the Neue Nationalgalerie collection from the point of view of its director Joachim Jäger.
After years of closure and extensive renovations to the iconic museum building by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), this should change in the years to come. For hunters, “the long shutdown is a turning point and the possibility of a new start”.
Jäger and his team mark the start of this new beginning with three exhibitions. “The building is a main exhibition.” Next comes the exhibition “Alexander Calder. Minimal / maximal ”in the main hall which defines the style, composed of huge glass facades covered with steel, a tribute to the building. The American sculptor Calder (1898-1976) has been associated with the museum from the very beginning. For the opening of the Mies building in 1968, his work “Têtes et Queue” was mounted, which can be found on the museum’s terrace after the renovation.
Calder’s monumental sculptures are now in view, only separated by the glass facades. Especially the mobiles, which often seem playful despite their large size, contrast deliciously with the rigor and the clarity of the main room. The intense red of the central sculpture “Five Swords” from 1976 appears to be a similar contrast, but at the same time echoes the materiality of the Mies building in its immense steel construction.
The basement with its carpet, so atypical for museums, is presented by the collection under the title “The art of society 1900-1945”. The permanent exhibition, which will run until 2023, hosts two new more recent acquisitions: Lotte Laserstein was rediscovered as an important artist of her time with “Abend über Potsdam” (1930); year 1928.
Like a walk through the deposits
With around 250 works on display, the exhibition engages with eras such as empire, world wars, colonial times and the Holocaust. The 1920s, considered formative for Berlin, are reflected, for example, in “Potsdamer Platz” by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), a central painting of German Expressionism, which is impressively depicted in the exposure. The opening exhibition is like a walk through the National Gallery’s repositories: Dada, Surrealism, Cubism. From the New Objectivity, not only is a central work like “Sonja” by Christian Schad shown, but also with the question “Who is Sonja?” The role and origin of Albertine Gimpel’s portrait are explained.
Speaking of provenance: For the reopening of the New National Gallery, the approximately 1,800 works in the National Gallery, spread across six locations, were recorded in an inventory catalog and their origin history was researched in the process. . It was necessary to clarify, for example, the possible acquisition history of the Nazi era due to persecution. According to Jäger, “only a small group of works remained, on which we have no information yet. The files are too bad. ”Jäger did not want to quantify the proportion, but announced new research.
Stroll in the sculpture garden
A highlight of the Mies building can be accessed directly via the permanent exhibition: the sculpture garden, which was closed for decades after the renovation, is accessible again. For hunters, the diversity of modern sculpture is evident here. “The garden is a small museum in its own right.”
The only artist living in the opening exhibitions is the Neue Nationalgalerie graphic studio with “Rosa Barba. In a perpetual now “reserved. Until January 16, Berlin-based Barba will show key films from his work from 2009 to the present day. For the arrangement, she also chose a reference to Mies and her architecture. The steel construction for the work is based on the main hall and at the same time is based on the floor plan of the “brick country house” by Mies van der Rohe.