Programme Winter/Spring 2023
The new half-year programme is out now. The broschure is exclusively available at the MdbK.
The future originates in our minds: pictures of goals, situations, of other people and of our own life, of how it could be. Yet at present,this is hard for many people. People around us are talking about how uncertain oreven dangerous “the times” are, and the media add news and opinions. What makes us strong is not only the capacity to sketch the future, but also the fact that we form connections in the present — to each other and to art. In the coming months, Olga Costa, who left Leipzig and went to Mexico, will accompany us with her colourful paintings that tell of another land. She links us with her world in which the human blends into nature instead of seeking to master it. We examine relationships also in a project that looks at the “brother countries” of the GDR and asks what has become of these contacts (both artistic and combative) and what can still be felt in Leipzig to this day. Finally, the inside of this flyer contains a collection of wishes, presented to great effect by a “grass alien”. We would like to pass them on to you for the New Year. They come from children and young people who, together with the artists group greater form, are testing new ways of cultural participation and, in doing so, forming exciting connections with the MdbK — so that we can undertaken more experiments in the future. Perhaps we can all become a little more likegrass aliens: greener, more careful, more respectful — on this planet, which we do not own and on which we are merely guests.
Small but oh my!
A focal point of the MdbK library’s collectionis the so-called grey literature — publications that have not appeared with a publisher andare not available or searchable through bookshops. The spectrum ranges from flyers and leaflets to self-published catalogues. For research in contemporary history and arthistory, this inconspicuous genre — represented in only a few libraries — is of great value and often the only evidence of exhibitions orevents. Since the library was first set up by the Leipziger Kunstverein, self-published catalogues found their way into the collection through exchange with other institutions. Especially extensive today is the collection of grey literature on GDR art. In addition to the genres mentioned, there are also writings by authorities and parties on art and cultural policy — some of which are stamped “For official use only”. Since the Peaceful Revolution, many collections and archives, mainly belonging to private individuals, have been dissolved or reduced in size. Through personal contacts and word of mouth, the MdbK obtained over 1,000 copies of this small genre in the past five years alone.
Not about us without us
The MdbK would like to be a place for everyone, a place where inclusion is a matter of course and equal cultural participation is made possible. In addition to offers that include people with disabilities, for them and with them (e. g. MdbK [hubs], blind sehen, guided tours for people with dementia), the MdbK has also sought to improve the orientation for all visitors and to reduce pitfalls. Already in the conception phase, people living with impairments were involved and their knowledge and experiences were taken into account. Thanks to the support of the Saxon State Office for Museum Affairs, the first measures in the museum and on the website have now been implemented. White contrast markings at the entrance doors andon stair treads, orientation aids in Braille on the handrails and high-contrast markings are small steps towards a more barrier-free MdbK. After a first evaluation, further improvements are planned for 2023.
The stages of life in private
This photograph from a private collection in Hamburg is a small sensation. It shows the bourgeois salon of the Siemssen family in Greifswald. The people are sitting comfortably together, on the far right Hans-Jürgen Eggers, the father of the discoverer of the photograph, and on the left on the sofa Anna (called Anning) Siemssen, a descendant of Caspar David Friedrich. And hanging centrally above the Biedermeier sofa are Friedrich’s "Stages of Life". It does not take much imagination to envision what emotional value the painting held, hanging prominently here in the social and private centre of the family, before it became an icon of German Romanticism. The MdbK acquired the work from the Siemssen family in 1931 — at a time when the artist was experiencing a hype and various German museums were vying to acquire his paintings. The photograph, on the other hand, is evidence of a very personal bond with the work.
Who succeeds in getting out of their own bubble? In the context of a cooperation between the MdbK and the artists group greater form, an attempt is made to shed light on topics, life realities and aesthetic forms that have thus far remained underrepresented at the MdbK. greater form works at the interface of art, activism and education. Their concern is the participation of socially disadvantaged children and young people in artistic and cultural life. They have been active in Leipzig-Grünau since 2015. Together with kids from the area, they produce art, create situations such as booths, shelters and party settings, carry out actions in public space and curate exhibitions. At the centre is process oriented work in which forms and contents are created in collaboration with all participants. In the cooperation, greater form and the MdbK want to exchange expertise and resources, learn from each other and find out together how new alliances can emerge from distinct life worlds.
Wilhelm Busch on a journey
In January 2023, nine drawings by Wilhelm Busch (1832 – 1908) will embark on a journey to Berlin’s Schloss Britz. During a routine check beforehand, it was discovered that all of them were in old, acidic passe-partouts. In addition, the boards of the passe-partouts were glued tightly together so that one could not see the edges of the sheets, and the sheets were glued to the boards underneath. First, the drawings had to be urgently removed from the old passe-partouts. In the past, the cardboard was used that contained wood and in which chemical processes would occur over time, causing the paper to decay. To ensure that the drawings can still be viewed in 100 years, this process of decay must be stopped. To do this, they were all removed from the old passe-partouts and mounted in new ones. Now they are ready for the journey.