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Papermania!, Bleicke Bleicken, and highlights from its collection on view at Museum Kunst der Westküste
Installation view. Photo: Lukas Spoerl.

ALKERSUM.- The exhibition Papermania! brings together ten international artists whose works have two things in common: on the one hand their support, paper, whose materiality allows for tremendous artistic variety, and on the other the subjects of “sea and coast” and “travel and nature.” Brittle-seeming, small-scale works and richly detailed narrative scenes, such as paper travel objects in miniature, compete with expansive installations, paper cuts, sculptures, and videos.

Swarms of moths, designed by Carlos Amorales, cover the high walls and, in a projection, evoke Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” A shipwreck that most recently put out to sea from Rostock along with its builder, Frank Bölter, has now found its berth at the museum.

In fascinating ways viewers get to see how the material can be perceived as sometimes tender and fragile, sometimes sturdy and rough and at the same time highly resistant.

The artists included in the exhibition are: Carlos Amorales (MX), Frank Bölter (D), Peter Callesen (DK), Jennifer Collier (UK), Charlotte McGowan-Griffin (UK/DE), Thomas Judisch (D), Bovey Lee (CN/USA), Mia Pearlman (USA), Stefan Thiel (D), Mariëlle van den Bergh (NL).

No other photographer has captured life on the island of Sylt with such great focus over decades as has Bleicke Bleicken (1898-1973). He wanted to “take pictures”: fascinated with the medium’s means of expression since the 1920s, he pursued clearly defined objectives in the process - at first, to use them for advertising purposes, yet subsequently also to document the major changes on the island of “the rich and the beautiful, to draw attention to the threat to the irrecoverable, and the portray the “other” Sylt. He drew his inspiration from the photographers of Neue Sachlichkeit, from Albert Renger-Patzsch as well as from the latter’s hero, Andreas Feininger. Presumably also in contact with the Schleswig-Holstein-based landscape photographer Theodor Möller, as well as with Raoul Hausmann and Arved Gutschow, he developed a wide variety of subjects, ranging from family pictures to experimental light studies and social documentary photography to meditative landscape scenes. “Put little in the picture, but do it big,” was his motto.

Selected masterworks from the Collection Kunst der Westküste engage three expansive contemporary paper installations designed by Frank Bölter, Thomas Judisch, and Carlos Amorales in a dialogue about subjects that will always remain topical.

Artists such as the major Skagen painters, Peder Severin Krøyer and Michael Ancher, face the relentlessness of the sea. The viewer witnesses fishermen fighting for their lives in dramatic moments and large sailing ships facing wreckage.

The range of subjects also comprises life and work on the west coast of northern Europe. Paintings by Jozef Israels, Anna Ancher, and the famous “painter of Föhr,” Otto Heinrich Engel, visualise how the living conditions and quality of life of the people changed over time. Numerous new acquisitions, including paintings by Christian Krogh and drawings by Max Liebermann, complement the impressive exhibition. 

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