Mercedes-Benz AG owns one of the world’s most prestigious art collections. The company is sending a selection of about 200 of its most important works, from Josef Albers via Andy Warhol to Sylvie Fleury, on a world tour. Including South Africa in the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection world tour indicates both Mercedes-Benz AG’s close links with South Africa and the country’s international importance.
The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection’s concept for South Africa goes well beyond traditional collection presentation: South Africa has never seen works of art from the movements mentioned on this scale and at this international standard. The exhibits have been specially assembled and presented to give visitors a tour of the last 50 years of international art history. But the major feature of this project is that the whole exhibition will be introduced and accompanied by an educational program for schools and universities. Educational aims and concepts for use with the schools and universities during the exhibition period are already being worked out in advance, in close co-operation with the South African institutions.
The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection has come into being over the last 25 years. It started with an interest in the art of south-western Germany, and has established itself as one of the most important international corporate collections as it has grown. The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection reflects the most important developments in 20th century abstract art, starting with prestigious groups of work from the Concrete and Constructive Art, European ZERO movement, Minimalism and Concept Art movements, then moving on to the most recent international trends in abstract art. Separate parts of the collection are dedicated to car related art, contemporary South African art and new media. Selected artists are being and have been commissioned to devise groups of work (including Andy Warhol and Robert Longo, for example). The collection includes all genres of modern art, painting, works on paper, sculpture, installations, photography and video.