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

6.1.2022

Emil Nolde (1867-1956) is one of the most famous artists of Modernism. His current perception is shaped by historical mythmaking and its deconstruction. After the Second World War, he himself and actors in cultural politics pushed the image of the ostracized artist. Research in recent years has brought Nolde back into the public consciousness as a National Socialist and anti-Semite.

 

 

The Düsseldorf conceptual artist Mischa Kuball (* 1959), supported by the Nolde Stiftung Seebüll, set out to trace this ambivalent figure. First results were on view in the winter of 2020/2021 in the exhibition "Emil Nolde - a critical approach by Mischa Kuball" at the Draiflessen Collection in Mettingen.

 

© Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

Mischa Kuball: ct_scan_video_ethnographica_Nolde/Kritik/Kuball, 2020

video on monitor (30 min.), b/w, 55 Zoll

© Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

Mischa Kuball: scan_room_Nolde/Kritik/Kuball, 2020

video on monitor (28 min.), 4c, 55 Zoll

© Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021 / Foto: Henning Rogge, Hamburg

Mischa Kuball: ethnographica_Nolde/Kritik/Kuball

Exhibition View Draiflessen Collection, Mettingen, 2020

double-video installation (18 min.), b/w, variable dimensions

© Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021 / Foto: Henning Rogge, Hamburg

Mischa Kuball: ct_scan_ethnographica_Nolde/Kritik/Kuball

Eyhibition View Draiflessen Collection, Mettingen, 2020

42 Fine Art Prints b/w, each 30 x 40 cm

In Kassel, the search for traces is to be continued at the end of 2022, focusing on Emil Nolde as a documenta artist. The exhibition provides a view of Nolde's historical and highly contradictory personality from the perspective of a contemporary artist. Kuball's work opens spaces of discourse that go beyond the individual example and invites an exciting examination-not only of Nolde as a person, but also of mechanisms of artistic self-dramatization and the relationship between art and politics.

 

The exhibition tour focuses primarily on two aspects. The first is the visibility and absence of Emil Nolde's paintings, which today appear almost omnipresent as postcard motifs, but which once disappeared from museums and the public eye, except for the traveling exhibition Degenerate Art, only to reappear after 1945. In this context, the first three documenta exhibitions are also of central importance. Kuball shows, among other things, 18 of 30 "unpainted pictures" that the artist created during his alleged ban on painting, and which filled an entire room at the 1964 documenta.  The documenta thus contributed to the mythmaking of Nolde as an ostracized artist. For his project, Mischa Kuball exclusively selected works that were on view in Kassel in 1955, 1959, and 1964.

The second important aspect for the exhibition concept is the archival idea. In cinematic black-and-white shots, Kuball traces the painter in Seebüll, his former working and living space, and the foundation's current headquarters.

 

The Nolde works are complemented by works by Mischa Kuball, and picture panels from Aby Warburg's pictorial atlas "Mnemosyne" influence the art-critical methodology of the exhibition.

The project realizes a multi-layered critical examination that points beyond the concrete example of Nolde and stimulates discourse. Accompanying the exhibition in Kassel, there will be two panel discussions that further expand this discourse.

In preparation for the exhibition in Kassel, a richly illustrated, trilingual catalog (German, English, and Dutch) will be published as early as summer 2022. The publication brings together contributions from the fields of cultural and art studies as well as philosophy, spanning the arc from artistic self-staging to the emergence of a (critical) judgment.

© Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021 / Foto: Marek Kruszewski

Mischa Kuball, making of Mnemosyne (after Aby Warburg), 2021, 2‑channel video installation, projection, 16:9, colour, ed. 1/3

© Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

Mischa Kuball, Production of making of Mnemosyne (after Aby Warburg), 2021, 2‑channel video installation, projection, 16:9, colour, ed. 1/3.

© Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

Mischa Kuball, Production of making of Mnemosyne (after Aby Warburg), 2021, 2‑channel video installation, projection, 16:9, colour, ed. 1/3.