Ghosts of Modernity

Following the tradition and the impulse given by Wilhelm Lehmbruck, sculptures and statuary are at the heart of the exhibition: three-dimensional works of art that mark the upheavals, innovations and preeminent positions in the history of sculpture. In the early 20th century, art detached itself from figure, imitation and academicism; a new understanding of form emerged whose most radical expression lead to the free play of space, volume and material. The portrait bust can be used as an example to illustrate this – one of the most representative and challenging tasks for a sculptor. While sculptures up to that time had been modelled, shaped, chiselled, or cast, they could now be constructed, designed, built. The artists assumed the roles of architect and engineer. Even the human figure was mechanised. But sculpture also turned to intangible phenomena as its subject, such as light, music and space, even in the very first abstract sculpture. Volumes break apart; masses dissolve in geometrical shapes and begin to move.

The exhibits are both key works of the collection and important examples of surrealism, expressionism, constructivist sculpture and classical modernity. They include works by Alexander Archipenko, Hans Arp, Rudolf Belling, Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Naum Gabo, Alberto Giacometti, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and David Smith. The exhibition design by raumlabor berlin is entitled “Ghosts of Modernity”. Their spatial concept enables several types of encounters with the art – being alone with art, regarding it in context or at eye level at a “table” – that serve to redefine our present position towards art (in the modern age). Visitors are invited to linger and participate in the discourse about the role of art in society today.