Sense of Discovery
The new half-year programme is out now: Themed "Sense of Discovery", we would like to invite you on a discovery tour.
About small and big discoveries
Discoveries shape our lives. Perhaps for some people this word conjures up great things like new planets or new knowledge. For others, discovery is associated more with small, private things like the first baby teeth or a new love. Yet sometimes discoveries also entail diff iculties. The colonial spirit of discovery of modernity and its resonances in art are for good reason critically discussed today. And the unmediated presence of what is new—which, because we have identified it, is now in the world—often calls for confrontation. Thus the discoverer always has courage, for she must trust strange companions along the way: intuition, inquiry and curiosity. But discoveries can also be magical, as they have the power to suddenly change what is given.
In the course of the next time, we would like to show you in a special way that the MdbK can be a magical place. Female artists previously known only from archives will make an appearance with their works. The Bühler-Brockhaus donation can be rediscovered in new spaces. Works of art have come from as far away. Others have, after years, left our storeroom because the vistors' feedback on the exhibition Leipzig: A Universe of Images. 1905 – 2022 inspired us to redesign the presentation of our collection. The MdbK [next;raum] sees itself as a place for discovering new or forgotten contexts. In our shop MZIN, you can seek out unusual literature on art, and the Café Treff invites you to culinary discoveries. We look forward to you visit.
Luther and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
In the European consciousness, pre-modern Africa is generally regarded as a continent without history. In local history books, it appears for the first time in the context of colonisation when Africa was “discovered” by Europeans. This misunderstanding is rooted in the colonial premises of European research on Africa. A recently rediscovered letter by Martin Luther shows how the Ethiopian Orthodox Church had a transconfessional influence on him and the Reformation. In the summer of 1534, Luther met with the Ethiopian Orthodox monk Abba Mikaᵓel (ሚካኤል) in Wittenberg. Since the beginning of the fourth century, Christianity had already gained currency in Ethiopia, but was largely isolated from the influence of the universal church with the expansion of Islam in the seventh century. The originality that was (allegedly) preserved by this isolation was of particular interest to Luther. He hoped to find arguments for his theological views to distinguish them from those of the Catholic Church, which in his eyes had deviated far from the original teachings. Exemplifying the encounter between Abba Mikaᵓel and Martin Luther and the intercultural links, the MdbK will be showing in the coming months Ethiopian icon in the context of Reformation paintings by the two Cranachs.
A Guest from LA
Two paintings by the Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp (1620–1691), currently owned by the MdbK and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, show views of his home city of Dordrecht. These two paintings were originally the left and right halves of the panoramic View of Dordrecht (c. 1647), which can now be seen again in its entirety for the first time in Leipzig. The painting from Los Angeles first appeared in an estate auction in Amsterdam in 1822. Before 1822, the original large format must have been sawn apart. The reason for this may have been that, at the time, Cuyp’s paintings were fetching high prices on the European
art market. The Leipzig half entered the MdbK collection in 1916 from the estate of Alfred Thieme. In preparation for the merging of the two halves, the heavily yellowed varnish was removed and the original colour was uncovered. At the same time, the restoration offered the opportunity to carry out numerous technological investigations. A small presentation provides information on the results.
A 60 square-metre room in the middle of the presentation of the Renaissance collection has been converted into the MdbK [next;raum]. In this space, current socio-political themes are to be taken up and reflected upon in relation to the work of the MdbK, and dialogues are to be initiated. Visitors are invited to participate in this process. Inspiration is provided by stimulating wall texts, objects and selected literature (currently from the feminist women’s library MonaliesA and the library of the MdbK). In episode #1 an MdbK [next;raum] working group with 14 participants—from diverse fields, including political education, theology, art, sociology and cultural studies—has been addressing the topic of the representation of women* and genders in the collections and exhibitions of the MdbK since the end of 2021. The group will present the results of their work until November 27th, 2022, with the title Unterm Rock. Reflections on Gender Issues at MdbK [next;raum]. The questions and suggestions will also find their way into the internal discussions at the MdbK about its policies, organisational structure and exhibition planning. Starting in the autumn, new event formats will welcome everyone who is interested to continue the dialogue.
Since 2017, once a month the MdbK has been inviting women and girls aged 14 and older to the transcultural programme Sprich mit mir! (Talk to me!) for meeting people and learning languages. Together, women who speak German and women who are learning German visit the MdbK and exchange ideas about art and life. In this way, they develop their language skills, make contacts and take advantage of the opportunities of living diversity.
MZIN – Concept Store
MZIN began in 2008 as a diploma project by Philipp Neumann at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts and has been run by him and Karen Laube to this day. Since March 2022, the two graphic designers have
been offering at the MdbK their carefully curated selection of international book and magazine titles from the fields of art, design, architecture and fashion. This offer is supplemented by artists’ editions, the MdbK
catalogues and merchandise. The shop’s design, developed exclusively for the MdbK, is flexible, modular and process-oriented. On two Thursdays a month, MZIN invites visitors to events with guests from the fields of book design, publishing, art and music. Temporary small exhibitions are dedicated to the graphic arts from silk-screen printing to photography to artists’ books.