Frontalansicht Bronzefigur von Ernst Barlach "Der Schwebende"
Ernst Barlach-Güstrower Engel-Stukko nach der Bronze von 1927-Foto Bernd Boehm

23.02 - 01.04.2018

Ernst Barlach - Kaethe Kollwitz: Beyond the Borders of Existence

With over 160 works, the exhibition provides an impressive overview of 50 years of their artistic work.

National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kiev

With Ernst Barlach (1870-1938) and Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) two important artists of German Expressionism are presented for the first time in Ukraine. With over 160 works, the exhibition provides an impressive overview of 50 years of their artistic work.

What makes Käthe Kollwitz as well as Ernst Barlach world-famous individual positions of modernism is their unbroken plea for the human being in his existential life situation. Neither Barlach nor Kollwitz ever attempted to abstract from the state of human existence, but rather they placed man with his worries and hardships and likewise with his hopes and dreams at the center of their art and captured them in haunting images. These pictures are still haunting today. Their greatest achievement, however, was certainly their passionate plea for peace and against any war.

Ernst Barlach's 1906 trip to what was then southwestern Russia (now Ukraine) led him to the artistic and aesthetic leitmotifs that would define his entire oeuvre. Käthe Kollwitz grew up in Königsberg (today Kaliningrad). Her early drawings focused on the poverty of the dockworkers in her homeland. Even later, when she moved to Berlin, her artistic work focused primarily on the plight of people in transition to a modern industrial society. Like many European artists, she associated the revolutionary events in Russia with the hope of a fundamental change in the world and a socially just society. For Ernst Barlach as well as for Käthe Kollwitz, Russian culture had a formative influence.

After the successful presentation in Minsk with 18,534 visitors and following Kiev, the exhibition is hosted by the Russian Museum St. Petersburg from April 26 to July 1, 2018. It sees itself as a platform for current dialogue about the past, present and future. In addition to the historical events it touches on, however, it is above all the artists' questions about human- and nature-friendly progress towards a peaceful future that have retained their urgency to this day.
For this reason, the exhibition is accompanied by the transnational dialogue project face art - face future. In order to define the content for this accompanying program, a joint workshop took place in Minsk from October 2 to 5, 2017, with the participation of 20 artists, art educators, art historians and curators from Minsk, St. Petersburg, Kiev and Hamburg.

The exhibition Ernst Barlach - Käthe Kollwitz "Beyond The Borders of Existence" in Kiev is realized by the Ernst Barlach Society Hamburg in cooperation with the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) Stuttgart, the Ernst Barlach Museums Ratzeburg and Wedel as well as numerous private lenders. The program face art - face future is realized by the Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft Hamburg in cooperation with the educational department of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the Goethe Institute Kiev and the Bursa Gallery in Kiev.