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The Lafrenz Collection: Minimal is More at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Foreground: Ulrich Rückriem (1938), Damensturz 2004, 8 objects, 30 x 30 x 30 cm each, Collection Gemeentemuseum Den Haag Background: Soll LeWitt, (1928-2007), Wall Drawings no. 1020 and 1021, Isometric Form, 2002, acrylic on wall, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

THE HAGUE.- The Sammlung Lafrenz from Hamburg – in which Minimal Art is well-represented – enters in this exhibition into dialogue with works from the museum’s own collection. Works of art by, for instance, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd or Carl André are characterized by simple geometric forms and are mainly executed by means of industrial production techniques. The exhibition illustrates how the next generation further developed the theme. Over thirty artists are represented, both with Minimal Art works and related art forms as well as the reactions to them. Important names are Günther Förg, Frank Gerritz, Gary Lang, Bruce Nauman, Blinki Palermo, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, Serge Spitzer, Niele Toroni and Günter Tuzina.

With Minmal is More the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag takes another look at both the exhibition Minimal held in 2002 and at the very first Minimal Art exhibition in Europe, which was compiled by the museum in 1968, and was later to be seen in Düsseldorf and Berlin. Not only as a result of this important exhibition, but also on account of acquisitions and exhibitions since the nineteen-eighties, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has built up a special relationship with both Minimal Art and related art movements. For example, the museum has acquired a large number of works by LeWitt and works by Judd, Förg, Toroni and Tuzina are on permanent exhibition as installations. The salient feature of the artists selected from the museum collection for this exhibition is that they work in the tradition of geometric-abstract art, of which Mondrian – the largest collection of whose work is in the possession of the museum – is the progenitor.

By reducing the artistic means of expression to their most elementary level and by their frequent use of industrial materials and techniques, artists such as LeWitt, Judd and Carl André strip their art of all fortuitous, subjective and emotional characteristics in order to achieve objective, neutral statements. The next generation reacted to this in two ways. Artists who adopted the industrial, sleek and neutral aspect of Minimal Art and aesthetically enriched it. And others who again attached importance to the individual and his body, with all his feelings, imperfections and unpredictability. The collection in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag includes mainly work by artists following this trend, for example Tuzina, Gary Lang and Serge Spitzer.

Special attention is also paid to the works on permanent display that have been created especially for our museum, such as the murals in the stairwells and hall and the works in the outdoor areas. In addition, important ‘Minimal’ works will be on view (from 8 November) in the exhibition Twintigste Eeuw (Twentieth Century).

Frank Gerritz, an artist of the younger generation represented in the Lafrenz collection, will give a presentation in the Project Hall from 25 April – 5 July 2009. In the week in which he sets up his exhibition the public will be able to see how he and his assistants, using soft-grade pencils, create a homogeneous, reflective surface on the wall.

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