ALKERSUM.- The Sammlung Kunst der Westküste
includes Danish, German, Dutch and Norwegian art from 1830 to 1930. Currently comprising some 500 works, the collection offers a multi-faceted look at coastal living environments and conveys a fascination with the sea in an impressive panorama of subjects ranging from Bergen in the Netherlands to Bergen in southern Norway. Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher, Max Beckmann, Johan Christian Dahl, Peder Severin Krøyer, Christian Krohg, Max Liebermann, Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch are among the major 19th and 20th century Scandinavian and German artists included in the collection, while Dutch painting is prominently represented by the romanticist Andreas Schelfhout and leading exponents of the Hague School such as Jozef Israels and Hendrik Willem Mesdag. Also among the holdings are works by Johan Barthold Jongkind and Eugène Boudin, who are regarded as precursors of impressionism and were of central importance to the development of European landscape painting in the 19th century. Early works by Piet Mondrian point to the impressionist beginnings of this artist who ranks among the pioneers of abstract painting in the 20th century. Finally, a main focus of the collection is North Frisian painting, which is represented by two of its premier practitioners, Otto Heinrich Engel and Hans Peter Feddersen.
The exhibition of parts of these extensive holdings calls for a very careful selection of works in order to adequately reflect both the art historical canon and the country-specific aspects of the four-nation collection. Any presentation of the collection has to ask itself to what extent it is representative. The current presentation aims to highlight the stylistic transition from romanticism to expressionism. Rather than attempting to offer a harmonious overall picture, it relies on the diversity of subjects and genres. To this end, new acquisitions of the past four years are assembled and at the same time works are shown that have never before seen the light of the museum’s galleries. In addition, familiar and pivotal artistic approaches within the collection are exemplified by works that are part and parcel of any presentation.
23 Sep 2012 – 13 Jan 2013
The American video and installation artist Bill Viola (b. 1951) is one of the pioneers of international media art and ranks among its most prominent exponents. Since the 1970s, his video pieces have been exhibited throughout the world. In 1995, Bill Viola represented the USA at the Venice Biennale. He was included in the documenta several times and has received numerous prestigious awards for his work.
The Raft (2004) shows a group of women and men of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds who are waiting in line in front of a neutral backdrop. Suddenly they are struck by a massive onslaught of water. In extreme slowmotion the footage shows the individual reactions, the desperate gestures and agonised expressions in the struggle against the overwhelming flood. Once the torrent of water stops, an abject scene presents itself, with the group of people ravaged by a timeless and placeless natural disaster. As a universal metaphor of the threat to human life and the hope for redemption, The Raft alludes to Théodore Géricaults romantic painting The Raft of the Medusa, a dramatic history painting showing the men and women who, following the shipwreck of their frigate, are suspended between life and death, between despair and hope.
23 Sep 2012 – 13 Jan 2013
The German photo artist Anja Jensen (b. 1966) focuses in her photographic works and installations on the scenarios of surveillance and being watched. Since 2001, the artist has been staging uncanny settings at dusk and lit by artificial light at real locations in nature or in urban environments – scenes that border on voyeurism and policing. Resembling film stills, these magically enigmatic depictions are part of a work series titled It’s for Security. Individuals or groups are shown engaging in ambiguously mysterious activities, as if being caught in the act. The works of this series were created during projects in Germany, South America, China, Turkey and Poland and have been exhibited in several solo and group shows there as well as throughout Europe.
Titled Tatort, literally “crime scene,” our exhibition includes photographic works that Anja Jensen created since 2006 during her stays on the islands of Föhr and Amrum. The artist had, in fact, previously used beach and harbour scenes as magical settings for her works, which capture the viewer’s imagination through the staging of surreptitious acts and uncanny places. The people the artist picks to pose or act for these works are islanders, whose personal histories and everyday living environments provide inspiration for her art.