Minimal Art—the name of the historical movement is linked with a small number of artists who worked on a new definition of works of art as they relate both to the space and to viewers. Minimal Art’s objectively describable structures and proportions, its elemental forms and serial accumulations, its industrial materials and production forms argue consistently against abstract art’s ‘all-over’ and the subjective painting gestures of the 1950s. ‘Non-relational’, ‘non-hierarchical’ and ‘anti-compositional’ are the keywords of the day.
The artists in the Minimalism and after I exhibition display a broad spectrum of Minimalist tendencies from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection from about 1960 to the present day. They make it possible to discern the various ways in which Minimal Art has been appraised over the decades and generations. Early European reflections and refractions of the conceptual facet of Minimalism are set alongside new acquisitions.
The show focuses on young international artists whose work is essentially to be understood from the point of view of the history of Minimal Art and its effects. Given the nature of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, we have concentrated on pictures that consider the central criteria of Minimalism from today’s perspective: the essentially sculptural presence of the picture-object, coolly geometrical structures, intuitively intelligible order and proportions, works presented so that they relate to the space and the viewer, rejecting anything of a symbolic or narrative nature. Despite all this, the works are grounded in individual arguments, though these may be political, formal, art-reflective or purely aesthetic.