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Barbara Kruger at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich
Barbara Kruger, Floor piece for the Pinakothek der Moderne, installation view. Photo: Nicole Wilhelms, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London © Barbara Kruger.
MUNICH.- The American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger is designing the 2011 EDITION 46 issue of the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin which, in the 46th week of each year, is in the hands of an international contemporary artist. The magazine is to be published on Friday 18 November as a supplement in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The magazine project has given rise to a temporary work that the artist has designed especially for the floor of the rotunda in the Pinakothek der Moderne and which visitors can walk around.

Barbara Kruger has transformed the rotunda with its 25-metre diameter in the Pinakothek der Moderne into an arena: huge white letters on concentric bands of red and white surround the viewer and spell out concepts and statements. With the simplest of means, the work visibly demonstrates the influence that a restricted palette, signs and elementary slogans have on how we perceive things, how aggressive but also how beguiling these graphic elements can be, and the significance that they are then given. The space can be directly experienced as a system of power and control.

In her contribution to the SZ Magazin, Barbara Kruger reverses the relationship between the sender and receiver. Like the museum visitors, it is now the reader who is no longer allowed to simply consume information and knowledge as customary, but is consciously left in the lurch with questions about private wishes and social phenomena, violence and commerce. Ultimately, Kruger’s questions can only be answered individually, although they demand seemingly simple skills that – in this era of “like it” buttons – have become difficult: attentiveness, a differentiated approach and personal responsibility.

Barbara Kruger, born in 1945 in Newark/New Jersey, lives in New York and Los Angeles, where she teaches at the University of California. Kruger gained international fame in the 1980s with works in a reduced palette that combine photographic pictorial elements with pithy slogans (“I shop therefore I am”, “Your body is a battleground”) and has, since then, shown her works in countless exhibitions around the world. She received the Golden Lion for her life’s work at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

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Barbara Kruger at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich

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