061008: Landesgalerie im OÖ Landesmuseum: Political sculpture – Barlach, Kasper, Thorak, Wotruba

Landesgalerie im OÖ Landesmuseum: Political sculpture – Barlach, Kasper, Thorak, Wotruba Antihero tales The question concerning if and how Nazi conformist paintings and sculptures (Nazi art) should be presented, is a controversial topic. The Arno Becker exhibit in Schwerin, for example, can definitely be regarded as a lesson on how it should not be done. At first sight it may seem odd that works by Ernst Barlach and Fritz Wotruba are shown side by side with works by the propagandist Josef Thorak or Ludwig Kasper at the exhibit "Political sculpture". In any case this exhibit, curated by an large team of scientists, turned out to be an equally informative as well as instructive overview - allowing no room at all for applause from the wrong side. Large format photos give an impression of how the works must have presented themselves in a historical context, and written excerpts offer interesting details on the artist’s themselves; they inform us that Thorak divorced his wife because she was Jewish, that Barlach fought against the Nazi-regime until his death, that Ludwig Kasper was a member of a heterogeneous studio group, and, like Wotruba, earned a large amount of money during the days of Socialist predominance in Vienna. Only in the last two rooms of the exhibit does it become clear how, after 1945, the artist’s biographies affect each other: how, for example, Barlach became an East German hero, and how a Wotruba-relief can suddenly find itself next to a sculpture by Thorak. More exhibits of this kind would be desirable. They are able to express so much more about decades of Austrian and German art history than sundry monographic tales about heroes. Landesgalerie am OÖ. Landesmuseum 4010 Linz, Museumstrasse 14, until 16. 11. 2008 www.landesgalerie.at

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