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On June 1, the Art Lecture "Proposal List #2" took place in the Rotunda of the Fridericianum. The focus of the cooperation with the Staatstheater Kassel was the 1940-41 work "Leben? oder Theater? Ein Singespiel" by the German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon.

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nolde / kritik / documenta - A project by documenta archiv, Draiflessen Collection, Nolde Foundation Seebüll and Mischa Kuball


"nolde/kritik/documenta": Kassel, Friedrichsplatz 18, 9 December 2022 - 19 February 2023

Emil Nolde (1867-1956) is one of the best-known artists of classical modernism. His perception today is shaped by historical myth-making and its deconstruction. After the Second World War, he himself and contemporary art historians launched the image of the ostracised painter. Only recently have Nolde's anti-Semitic attitude and his opportunism towards the regime been brought back into consciousness.



With the support of the Nolde Foundation Seebüll, the Düsseldorf conceptual artist Mischa Kuball (*1959) has set out on the trail of this ambivalent artist personality and critically examined the work and impact of Emil Nolde. The first results were on display in the Draiflessen Collection in Mettingen in winter 2020/2021. 


© documenta archiv, Nolde Stiftung Seebüll, Mischa Kuball/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022 / Foto: Nicolas Wefers
© documenta archiv / Foto: Nicolas Wefers
© documenta archiv / Foto: Nicolas Wefers
© documenta archiv, Mischa Kuball/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022 / Foto: Nicolas Wefers
© documenta archiv, 8. Salon/fluid / Foto: Nicolas Wefers

At the invitation of the documenta archive, Kuball is continuing this search for traces this year. The research-based exhibition project "nolde / kritik / documenta" illuminates the interweaving of work and biography and asks about the contradictions of modernity, which are exemplified in the artist figure Emil Nolde. The starting point is the staging of Nolde's paintings in the context of documenta I-III (1955, 1959, 1964), which decisively shaped the "myth of Nolde". One example of this is the legend of the "unpainted pictures" that emerged after 1945 - those small-format watercolours that Nolde created in alleged isolation during the Second World War. 


Some of the works shown at the time are now returning to Kassel for the first time. From a postcolonial perspective, Kuball questions Nolde's access to foreign cultures by means of a selection of ethographic objects from his possession. In his staging, Kuball follows the principle of multi-layered juxtaposition - of the spoken and the unspoken, of the visible and the invisible. His artistic research opens up socio-political discourses that point beyond the person of Emil Nolde and reveal mechanisms of artistic self-staging and memory culture.

For the exhibition, a space-consuming installation with media will be created that, as a walk-in "reflection room", methodically undermines customary forms of presentation and permanently changes our view of the artistic originals.   

The project is based on extensive research in the documenta archive, the archive of the Nolde Foundation Seebüll and the Warburg Institute, London.


Accompanying the exhibition, two panel discussions will take place on 19 January and 9 February 2023.


The first event will deal with questions regarding the appropriation of Indigenous cultures in Expressionism around 1900. The second discussion will focus on Emil Nolde’s ambivalent biography, paradigmatic for the problematic relationship between work and author. The euphoric reception of his painterly style will be discussed in the context of the early documenta exhibitions and contemporary art historiography.


Please find press material for download here.

Catalogue book for the exhibition:
Birgitta Coers, Corinna Roth, Martin Rudolf Brenninkmeijer (eds.), nolde/kritik/documenta: a project by documenta archiv, the Draiflessen Collection, Nolde Foundation Seebüll and Mischa Kuball, Berlin: Dr. Cantzsche Verlagsgesellschaft 2023, german and english version, 208 pages

The catalogue for the exhibition at the Fridericianum is published in an expanded new edition in German and English.


nolde / kritik / documenta
Birgitta Coers / documenta archiv, Martin Brenninkmeijer, Corinna Otto / Draiflessen Collection
Autors: Astrid Becker, Birgitta Coers, Sabine Fastert, Jens Kastner, Nicole Roth, Barbara Segelken, Bill Sherman, Wolfgang Ullrich
Design: Studio Carmen Strzelecki
Softcover, 208 pages, 30 coulor and 70 b/w illustrations
Publisher: DCV
ISBN 978-​3-96912-076-7 (German)
ISBN 978-​3-96912-077-4 (English)

Exhibition trailer "nolde/criticism/documenta: A project by documenta archiv, Draiflessen Collection, Nolde Stiftung Seebüll and Mischa Kuball"
© documenta archiv, © Mischa Kuball / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022, © Nolde Foundation Seebüll, © 8. Salon/fluid
Exhibition architecture: Astrid Michaelis (Michaelis Szenografie), Münster
camera/editing: Fritz Eggenwirth, sound: Sebastian Jurchen