Among the artists: Natalia Załuska
The story of abstracting and abstract art resulted in a revolutionary artistic development from the beginning of the 20th century. At the outset in particular it was a struggle against the bourgeois understanding of a classical art canon (which had lost some of its certainty already through Impressionism and Fauvism) but the situation little more than 100 years later is free of conflict, defined by peaceful coexistence with other artistic standpoints.
In terms of art history and market requirements, artists working figuratively, like P. Picasso, H. Matisse, A. Modigliani, A. Giacometti, L. Freud and A. Warhol, are valued as highly as primarily abstract painters such as P. Mondrian, K. Malevich, J. Pollock, B. Newman, M. Rothko, G. Richter and S. Scully.
The blunting of all criteria since the ‘anything goes’ attitude of the 1980s has had a levelling effect on extreme contrasts. Previously, the eternal contradiction between the polar positions of ratio and intuition, intellect and anima, spirit and matter still led to debates that were already evident in the colour theories of Newton and Goethe.
Some artists adopted one-sided, radical positions; others, like J. Beuys, made a conscious effort towards an undogmatic synthesis. Important artists altered their standpoints between abstraction and representation, adding to a certain confusion and often operating partially on both sides (prototypically, one might name K. Malevich, F. Kupka, and currently G. Richter).
Almost all the aspects addressed can be found in our exhibition of works by more than 30 artists. The artists participating are those with whom we have cooperated during the gallery’s 40-year history, either in the shape of solo exhibitions or graphic art projects. The only exceptions are smaller sculptures by R. Ruthenbeck and U. Rückriem, and a graphic piece by H. Matisse. For the first time painters Liliane Tomasko and Tatjana Valsang are included with large-format canvases selected especially for the exhibition. S. Scully, T. Cragg, O. Metzel and G. Hildebrandt have also specially contributed works for our project – and we are particularly grateful to them.
Finally, we ought to mention a group of 12 loans from our private collection of drawings, which expand the spectrum of the exhibition historically. Six drawings are by earlier forerunners to abstract art (like V. Hugo, G. Sand and P. Gauguin, K. Malevich), the others are prototypical 20th century abstract works (O. Freundlich, Wols, S. Delaunay-Terk, J. Cage and G. Richter).