DIE VISIONÄRIN (The visionary)13. Sep - 29. Nov 14 / ends in 29 days 401contemporary berlin
opening on 12 September, 6 pm
DIE VISIONÄRIN (THE VISIONARY)
13. September - 29. November 2014
Opening: 12. September, 6 pm
Venue: 401contemporary, Potsdamer Straße 81 B, 10785 Berlin
Mary Bauermeister (born in 1934 in Frankfurt am Main and currently lives near Cologne) is an internationally re-nowned artist who was one of the formative figures of the avant-garde scene in the Rhineland in the early 1960s. Her studio in the Lintgasse 28 in Cologne was a centre for “new arts”, in music as well as art and architecture. Today the visitors and performers who graced this open studio read like a Who’s Who of the experimental movement in art, lit-erature and music: Nam June Paik, John Cage, Hans G Helms, Merce Cunningham, Otto Piene, Heinz Mack, Ben Patterson and many others came for the concerts, readings, exhibitions and performances in her studio, transforming it into a vibrant platform for events and experimental music. Although she was not a Fluxus artist herself, Mary Bau-ermeister is often referred to as the “mother of Fluxus”.
Following her first major solo exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, she left for the U.S. in 1962 – inspired particularly by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Together with Karlheinz Stockhausen, whom she had met in Cologne in 1960 and married later on in 1967, she moved to New York and quickly established herself there. Her works are represented in the collections of some of the world’s most important museums, including the MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Whitney in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, and a variety of other institutions; they have also been represented in the Whitney Biennial and numerous other exhibitions.
When she returned to Cologne at the beginning of the 1970s, Bauermeister branched off from the commercial art market. As a result, her work was received reluctantly in this part of the world. In 2004, the Ludwig Museum (Cologne) celebrated her 70th birthday with a solo exhibition, and in 2010, the Wilhelm Hack Museum (Ludwigshafen) featured the "World in a Box" exhibition in the context of its exceptional Fluxus collection.
Last year, Mary Bauermeister exhibited at 401contemporary for the first time (in dialogue with Jakob Mattner). This paved the way for her comeback, as 2014 is considered the Mary Bauermeister year: That is why the unique collabo-rative work of Mary Bauermeister / Karlheinz Stockhausen was presented at ART COLOGNE in April. For this year’s Gallery Weekend in Berlin, the exhibition INTERMEDIAL -featuring works by Sylvano Bussotti, John Cage, Hans G Helms, Nam June Paik, Otto Piene, Takako Saito, Karlheinz Stockhausen and, of course, Mary Bauermeister- brought the spirit of the art scene of the late 1950s and early 1960s to a contemporary audience – a spirit that had a home in Mary Bauermeister’s open studio in Cologne’s Lintgasse. And just in time for her 80th birthday in September, 401contemporary will feature the solo exhibition DIE VISIONÄRIN (THE VISIONARY) to honour this important and formidable artist and figure. It is long overdue that Mary Bauermeister’s works and artistic merits are embraced in Germany and that her work receives the attention and placement it already enjoys internationally.
Each of the versatile works of Mary Bauermeister, an artist who is constantly being rediscovered, reflects a cosmos that was designed starting in the 1950s by a unique, independent, vital artist who transgressed the narrow bounda-ries between media and categories. Writing and images, lenses and easels, fabric and stones – sequences and coin-cidences, rigour and vitality – are juxtaposed, complementing each other or creating new tensions. More and more works have emerged and continue to emerge that are full of life and materiality and, at the same time, delicate, poetic and philosophical – and this artistic vitality shows no signs of stopping after 80 years. We can still count on seeing something new from her and anticipate more departures into the unknown. As with so many great female artists whose later works have led to a rediscovery of earlier works that were often overlooked at the time – we need only to recall Louise Bourgeois –, this exhibition allows us to see and experience the complete works of Mary Bauermeister in light of many contemporary and sometimes anachronistic issues.
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