The artists engaged in minimalist, reduced aesthetics—from Josef Albers’ time as a lecturer at the Bauhaus in the 1920s through to contemporary positions, from Franz Erhard Walther or Martin Boyce—have always worked on the transfer of their rigorous artistic concepts to the applied arts. The exhibition abstains from simply juxtaposing Art and Design, in order to focus on artists from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection who have been working parallel in both areas.
Aspects of Applied Art are represented with examples from the fields of architecture, graphic design, brands and logos as well as furniture design. The exhibition survey is spanning from early works by Josef Albers and Arakawa/Gins to contemporary positions such as Andrea Zittel, Heimo Zobernig or Leonor Antunes. We have complemented the group of works by 25 artists with exemplary designs by Renzo Piano, the architect of Potsdamer Platz Berlin, as well as with design products by Gerrit Rietveld, Herbert Krenchel, Charles Eames und Konstantin Grcic.
As indicated by the exhibition’s subtitle the ‘transfers’ between fine art and applied arts can be practically applicable but might as well just ask for an imaginative, associative and playful ‘use’. Approaching the theme from the perspective of the collection’s history, the show aims at encouraging a dialogue between the developments in the areas as an open dialogue. Moreover Minimalism and Applied I marks the start of a new core area of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, which will be continued in the next years.