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

04.05 - 27.10.2019

Ernst Barlach - Kaethe Kollwitz: Beyond Borders of Existence and Werner Berg: Fairwell

The dialogical conception connects the works of Ernst Barlach, Käthe Kollwitz and Werner Berg and initiates a discourse on growth and progress.

Werner Berg Museum, Bleiburg (AT)

An unbroken plea for humankind in its existential life situation is what makes Ernst Barlach (1870-1938) as well as Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) world-famous individual positions of modernism. They placed people's worries and hardships as well as their hopes and dreams at the center of their art and captured them in haunting images.

Early on, both conceived their artistic work in contradiction to a reality perceived as cold and formed by materialism. Both Barlach and Kollwitz wanted to go beyond the borders of existence in their works. Whereas Barlach conceives of overcoming rather in an intellectual or spiritual competence, the artistic work of Käthe Kollwitz is committed to social and socio-political engagement. The greatest achievement of both artists, however, is certainly their passionate commitment to peace and against war.

With over 160 works, the exhibition offers a retrospective overview and is the most comprehensive synopsis of Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz in Austria to date. Fascinating is the direct dialogue with the late work of Werner Berg:

In the work of Werner Berg (1904-1981), traces of his engagement with the work of Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz can be found in many places. Like Barlach, Berg doubted the achievements of technical and economic progress. As early as 1931, the doctor of national economy and painter moved to a remote mountain farm in southeastern Carinthia. He wants to live the life of a farmer, despite the hardship and time constraints this imposes on his painting. Berg seeks the true, unadulterated existence beyond bourgeois conventions. In the everyday reality of this isolated region, he finds the antithesis of social alienation. Over decades, he created powerful, colorful images of people, their living environment and the untouched landscape.

In his late work, however, the painter's view changes significantly. The paintings, some of which are shown in this exhibition for the first time, are haunting signs of the artist's increasing isolation. The colors are cooler and more muted. Bare new buildings, abandoned farms, worried people and melancholy landscapes point to the structural change of the region, which seems to become increasingly alien to Werner Berg.

The exhibition Ernst Barlach - Käthe Kollwitz "Beyond the Borders of Existence" in Bleiburg is realized by the Ernst Barlach Society Hamburg in cooperation with the Werner Berg Museum Bleiburg, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) Stuttgart, the Ernst Barlach Museums Ratzeburg and Wedel as well as numerous private lenders.