The third presentation of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection in South Germany (following the extensive survey at ZKM Karlsruhe 2003 and at the Galerie der Stadt Sindelfingen 2004) at Museum Prediger Schwäbisch Gmünd concentrates on Highlights from the Collection with around 100 works spanning nearly 10 decades – from Adolf Hölzel, the main teacher in the area of South West German classical movements, through to young New York sculptor Vincent Szarek; from classical Modernism through to international contemporary art; from painting and drawing via photography to Installation and Video Art.
The Art Collection started in 1977. Since then the holdings have grown to about 2,000 works by about 700 German and international artists. The Collection represents an important spectrum of major 20th century art developments and pictorial ideas in the field of Abstraction mainly, right down to the present day. It also contains about 30 sculptures, some realized in co-operation with the artists for company sites and also for public places.
The first, essentially pictorial thrust in the Art Collection related to artists from South Germany, teachers and pupils from the Stuttgart Academy like Adolf Hölzel, Oskar Schlemmer, Willi Baumeister and the Swiss artists Hans Arp and Max Bill. The common feature was their artistically motivated interest in an interdisciplinary dialogue between fine art, functional product design, architecture and graphic design after the Bauhaus. The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection is still committed to this exploratory artistic thinking, thinking that is always directed at people, their imaginations and their ability to innovate.
Contemporary international art is represented in our exhibition with famous names as well as with young upcoming artists. Their work most often can be read as a continuation of abstract-minimal positions. Artists forming part of Classical Modernism and the avant-gardes of the 1960s/70s—like Josef Albers, Daniel Buren, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Richard Artschwager or Robert Ryman—are positioned beside leading contemporary artists as John M Armleder, Sylvie Fleury, Gail Hastings, Kirsten Mosher, Simone Westerwinter or Andrea Zittel.