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Show at Museum Ludwig aims to renegotiate the format of conventional museum exhibitions
Pablo Picasso, La chouette (The Owl), 1952 © Succession Picasso / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln/Britta Schlier.

COLOGNE.- The Museum Ludwig launched a new exhibition series that questions the approaches and conventions of the institution’s own work. HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig aims to renegotiate the format of conventional museum exhibitions.

The concept of this exhibition series is based on cooperation with international contributors who do not necessarily come from the visual arts. A space for interdisciplinary experiments has been opened in which artistic modes of production such as design, music, and theater as well as archives, record labels, and publishers can participate. An additional variation in this series, which has been deliberately kept open, can include collaborations with visual artists in which, for example, the museum’s collection is reflected upon as a determining element of the institution.

The exhibition series begins with the Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig, who is known for his diverse oeuvre. His experimental approach to the concept of sculpture often leads him to previously unexplored boundaries between art and architecture or design.

For the first exhibition in the series HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig, Heimo Zobernig transfers part of the installations that he created for the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015 into the rooms of the museum. Here the installation serves as a backdrop for a group of sculptures that Heimo Zobernig selected from the collection of the Museum Ludwig. Nine works by César, Lucio Fontana, Isa Genzken, Marino Marini, Aristide Maillol, Claes Oldenburg, Pablo Picasso, Renée Sintenis, and Hans Uhlmann have been placed on the architectural elements by Heimo Zobernig and will form a humorous and ironic commentary on collections and artistic self-conception.

With his installation in the Austrian pavilion Heimo Zobernig decidedly dealt with the location of the exhibition. This occurred both in the concrete engagement with the architecture of the pavilion and on an institutional level through a negotiation of the economy of attention at the competitive event of an international biennale.

But what happens when Heimo Zobernig presents a replica of this contribution in another location? The installation was recently shown in Zobernig’s solo exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, in which neither the architecture nor the conditions of reception were comparable to the situation in Venice. In contrast to Venice, in Bregenz the volume of the installation became particularly noticeable. The functional installation from Venice became a seemingly autonomous construction.

This work takes a final turn when it arrives at its third and most likely final station, the Museum Ludwig. This institution, whose function is diametrically opposed to the Biennale, is determined to a large degree by its collection, in contrast to the Kunsthaus Bregenz. What happens when the autonomy and function of Heimo Zobernig’s installation coincide will be all the more apparent in this exhibition at the Museum Ludwig. Here his giant object migrates from the ceiling to the floor and serves as a stage and a pedestal for selected examples from the museum’s sculpture collection in rooms that were originally intended for works on paper. This short migration once again makes clear that Zobernig is an artist of multiple formats and nonetheless stays true to himself. This placement, which is both unusual and succinct in its directness, expresses a subtle sense of irony in regard to artistic genius and the independent conception of an oeuvre, which simultaneously offers a new commentary on and humorously challenges the sculptures on display from the museum’s own collection.

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