Freitag, 10. Mai 2013

Another day at a museum - Kaethe Kollwitz Museum

Maybe I should rename my blog: a museum each day, as I try at least once the week to visit 2-3 museums and a gallery, and for the next weeks and days I have a full list of exhibitions that wait to be discovered. For the moment, I cope with a list of museums that I always wanted to visit in the last 4 years, but whose visit was delayed because always know that the museums will always be there for me. 

One example is Kaethe-Kollwitz-Museum, door-to-door to Literaturhaus, on Fasanenstrasse 24. I've been in the museum's garden at least once, and admired the sculptures spread between trees and flowers, but the idea of entering the building as well never tempted me enough. Two days ago, I checked my priority writing list and decided to go.

I was welcomed by a nice lady, that offered me information in English - the leaflets are available in German and French too. The only warning was to do not use my camera and thus, I only have pictures from the yard and the entrance. As in the case of Kaethe Kollwitz herself, the museum is not a place to go when you are looking for some entertainment. Her works are the dark reflection of the difficult years of the first half of the 20st century: the first World War where her son was killed in the battles, the social unrest when she was on behalf of the poor and naked and the terror of the WWII. She was the first woman member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, and during the war she retired to Nordhausen. A long-time activist on behalf of the German socialists and communists, she visited Moscow in 1927 and dies at 77, in 1945, before the end of the war. The Cold War history in Germany associated her with the leftists ideals of the time, and there are pictures at the exhibition with Soviet soldiers pictures in the front of Kaethe Kollwitz's statue in Prenzlauer Berg, where she lived most of her time.

The exhibition is expanded on three flours. Most part is represented by graphics and lithographies, but also a couple of sculptures. Her figure appear repeatedly either as a self-portrait or as a representation of the figures of women, especially mothers. It is only one self-portrait when she is laughing. Except with the figures of children, very expressive and full of life, her women are deeply sad, fighting with sorrow, poverty and loss. The works are in black and white, structured around themes such as: Germany's children are starving (1923), Weavers' Revolt, Soldiers' wives waiving good bye etc. Beyond the history of art, there is a lot of history that can be learned through her works. 

It is an useful exhibition for anyone interested in the history of Germany and in meeting the work of a German artist from the 20th century. I must confess that since I live here, I enjoy a lot visiting exhibitions of international artists but somehow the local artists are not too familiar to me and in the next weeks and months my plan is to find out more about them in a very systematic and scholarly way.

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