Discover Germany | Issue 24 | March 2015

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Discover Germany | Attraction of the Month | Germany

paint on already used canvasses. “In my opinion, the pragmatic aspect shouldn’t be overrated. One should always remember that Kirchner was an artist, who deliberately controlled the perception of his artworks,” Dr. Inge Herold says. An interesting fact about Kirchner’s works is that almost no recurring pattern or systematics in the processing of the canvas sides can be found.“The paintings’history of origins and their history of oeuvre is as different as their quality. A big part of the reverse sides are works which have been signed by the artist and which have therefore been marked as completed.There are also paintings with strongly varying front and reverse side quality, which stem from different work phases. Most of the time, the painting itself never shows a context between front and reverse side,”the curator adds. Another distinctive characteristic to explore at the Kunsthalle Mannheim is that Kirchner upended the majority of canvasses before he painted on them again. That’s why, for example, the Gelbes Engelufer, Berlin has a landscape format, whereas the reverse side has a portrait format. One of the main goals of the exhibition is to outline the disparate perspectives of this work category. A question, which will be explored, is who gets to choose which side

of the painting is seen as the main picture and which one as the reverse side. Dr. Inge Herold argues that “in principal, the decision rests with the picture owner but the work’s integrity is another important factor to be considered. Can we simply ignore the will of the artist because we like one side more than the other or because we can sell one side for more money?” The exhibition in the Kunsthalle Mannheim offers a special opportunity to discover the previously hidden.“Not many large-format early works survived in their original state.Therefore, the verso is an important contribution for the understanding of the artist’s oeuvre. It’s definitely relevant to document Kirchner’s work history and to make it transparent for the art’s audience,” Dr. Inge Herold explains. The works are presented chronologically and they consider the artist’s definitions of the works’ rectos on the one hand. On the other, the Kunsthalle Mannheim tries not to evaluate the main and reverse side problem so that the audience is allowed to make their own observation and evaluation. “That’s why we fundamentally present the paintings double-sided in special custombuilt, detached frame constructions, which enable visitors to look at both sides,” Dr. Inge Herold says.

Opposite page: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Marrokaner, 1909/1910. Photo: Kunsthalle Mannheim / Cem Yücetas Above: Dr. Inge Herold. Photo: Markus Schwetasch Below: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fraenzi, 1911, Kunsthalle zu Kiel. Photo: Martin Frommhagen Bottom: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Zwei Frauen auf der Straße, 1914/ Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. Photo: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf (left) Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Urteil des Paris, 1913. Photo: Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen am Rhein (middle) Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Weiblicher Akt im Tub, 1911/ Kunsthalle zu Kiel. Photo: Martin Frommhagen (right)

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