170308: Kunsthalle der Hypo Kulturstiftung: Mark Rothko – Retrospective

Kunsthalle der Hypo Kulturstiftung: Mark Rothko – Retrospective Stunningly deep and elevated Maybe the 23rd September 1810 should be considered as the founding day of art reviews. This is the date on which the art exhibit in Berlin opened its gates and among others Caspar David Friedrich’s “Monk by the Sea” was shown. Heinrich von Kleist, editor of the newspaper “Abendblätter” requested a write-up about this painting by one of his journalists, Clemens Brentano. But Brentano wrote the article in sharp contrast to Kleist’s understanding of the painting. While his version was witty, brute, and recognized nothing but superficiality in Friedrich’s painting, Kleist edited the article entirely and created the later famous phrase, that the painting induces a feeling “as if one’s eyelids have been cut away”. Here they are – the two potentialities of modern art. Does a painting constitute a plane, is it extensive, or is it simply paint covering a background? Or is it transcendence, apprehension, an excerpt from the continuum of infinity? Is it to be considered literal or is it enigmatic? Robert Rosenblum once said: “In the ‘Monk by the Sea’ - remove the monk and you will get a Rothko” – not to say all Rothkos in a kind of artistic union. Accordingly one could add that the notorious question of “either / or” regarding a plane versus depth is also Rothko’s understanding. Rothko’s understanding and even more so that of his audience. It is all a question of attitude. The Kunsthalle exhibit offers abundant material to observe one’s own attitude. The show, which was arranged with the support of Rothko’s children, displays the range that emerges if one applies a third monochrome plane to two others. The realistic, classicistic, surrealistic early pieces are not left out, but his signed paintings are the outstanding and unique ones. Is something shimmering? Is it fog, clouds, the atmosphere? Or is it at least a coloured pad, and is it floating? Or do all these metaphors lead to nothing and the melanges of colours are what they are? It is all a question of attitude. Lets describe it with Brentano’s words, which he overheard in a conversation among visitors to Friedrich’s exhibit: “Man: extremely deep and majestic – Lady: You mean the sea? Yes, it must be stunningly deep. And the Capuchin must be very elevated”. Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung 80333 Munich, Theatinerstr. 8 until 27.04.08 www.hypo-kunsthalle.de

Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung
80333 München, Theatinerstrasse 8
Tel: +49 (0)89 22 44 12, Fax: +49 (0)89 29 16 09 81
Email: kontakt@hypo-kunsthalle.de
Öffnungszeiten: täglich 10-20 Uhr

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