exhibition

below the surface – acquisitions 2005-2006
22 Dec 2006 - 18 Feb 2007

‘Below the Surface’ presents a selection of additions to the collection over the last two years. The exhibition includes work in a range of media and techniques: painting, sculpture and drawing alongside photography, film, video, theatre and music, or combinations thereof.

However, it is the content of the works that unites the show. Almost all the pieces in the exhibition testify to a profound involvement with the human psyche and today’s world. What they reveal is sometimes a little too close for comfort, bringing us face to face with what lies below the surface. 

The twelve artists in the exhibition include five names that are new to the collection: Francis Alÿs, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Mike Kelley, William Kentridge and Wilhelm Sasnal. The collection already had a number of pieces by the other seven artists: Marlene Dumas, Rineke Dijkstra, Isa Genzken, Eberhard Havekost, Aernout Mik, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Scheibitz. In some cases, earlier examples of their work are also included in the presentation. It is an approach that demonstrates the continuity of the collection while simultaneously illustrating the principle of acquiring several pieces by the same artist. The acquisition of a number of works by the five artists recently added to the collection also lays the foundations for new exhibition configurations.

Works for the collection are carefully selected to reflect the critical function of art and its capacity to offer us a window onto the future. Although the contours of expanding the collection over the brief duration of two years must remain a little hazy, with this exhibition an attempt has been made to sketch the opening lines of a contemporary narrative - be it a hybrid narrative without a linear storyboard. The exhibition deals with such themes as human existence, violence, death, good and evil, aesthetics and ethics, art and politics, media, magic and religion; in brief, all the aspects of the human condition.

The exhibition journey begins with the politically charged painting of Dumas, Alÿs and Sasnal. The exploration continues with the magic of artistic practice (Kentridge), modern life in all its complexity (Havekost, Scheibitz, Genzken, diCorcia) and the superficial innocence of youth and the landscape (Kelley, Dijkstra, Ruff), before confronting the viewer with the claustrophobic six-screen video installation Vacuum Room by Mik. Presented in a loop-shaped space from which there is no exit, this video installation literally closes the exhibition off with a cul-de-sac.

Participating artists
Francis Alÿs, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas, Isa Genzken, Eberhard Havekost, Mike Kelley, William Kentridge, Aernout Mik, Thomas Ruff, Wilhelm Sasnal, Thomas Scheibitz.