exhibition catalogue
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Double Vision
12 May 2023 - 27 Aug 2023 | Special exhibition | Exhibition catalogue

Vija Celmins (*1938 Riga) and Gerhard Richter (*1932 Dresden) are among the most internationally renowned artists of their generation. A large double show at the Hamburger Kunsthalle brings the two together for the first time and makes surprising connections visible. In addition to the thematic proximity, the artistic work with photographic models and the special significance of the colour grey, it is the question of the elementary conditions of representation that preoccupies Celmins and Richter. What is reality, what is representation? And how can perception, seeing itself, be made visible?

For more than six decades, the New York-based artist Vija Celmins and the Cologne-based Gerhard Richter have been producing an impressive artistic oeuvre with great mastery and intensity, without ever having joined an artist group or style. It is probably this independence that has led to the fact that both Celmins and Richter have so far been presented almost exclusively in monographic exhibitions. With the exhibition "Vija Celmins | Gerhard Richter. Double Vision", the Hamburger Kunsthalle is offering a new, expanded reading for the first time and is focusing on an exciting, transatlantic dialogue that reveals astonishing parallels and similarities in the work of both artists. This is the first encounter and the first joint exhibition of the two artists, each of whom is highly regarded in her home country. Vija Celmins' impressive paintings and drawings are rarely seen in Europe, and so the Hamburger Kunsthalle would like to contribute to giving her work greater visibility and attention. With a strong, female position as a dialogue partner, the possibility opens up to question and discover Gerhard Richter's work, often presented as singular, anew with a fresh view.

The exhibition comprises around 70 paintings, drawings, prints and objects and takes place on the first floor of the Galerie der Gegenwart. The dramaturgy of the double show leads from an early artistic preoccupation with everyday objects to an examination of war and migration (in the so-called "disaster" works) to works reflecting on art philosophy ("in response to Duchamp"). To be discovered are the fascinatingly realistic seascapes and the exploration of the colour grey in the work of both artists, as well as a wide range of reflections and doublings that address questions around the reality of the image. In a direct discussion of Celmins' and Richter's paintings, a comparative view becomes possible; in small interspersed chapters, particular aspects of their work are explored in greater depth.

Hardcover edition | Publisher Brigitte Kölle | Verlag Walther König | Number of pages 256 | Dimensions (L/W) 25/21 cm | Language German / English
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