Vis-à-Vis with Adolf Fleischmann: Hartmut Böhm and Andreas Schmid

Two installations by Hartmut Böhm and Andreas Schmid from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection in the context of the Adolf Fleischmann retrospective

April 30th — November 6th 2016
Mercedes-Benz Contemporary

The Mercedes-Benz Contemporary is simultaneously holding exhibitions by two artists who both have biographical roots in Esslingen in Baden-Württemberg, and are also known for artworks produced in the USA: Adolf Fleischmann and Dieter Blum. The Fleischmann Retrospective furthermore continues the >Classical : Modern< exhibition series, through which South German artists from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection since 2001 have been discussed in a broader, European art context.
For our Adolf Fleischmann (1892 – 1968) exhibition – the first Berlin retrospective of his work – we will be exhibiting around sixty paintings, collages and gouaches. The central focus is on his significant late work from his New York period. Dieter Blum (*1936, now living in Düsseldorf) was invited to a shoot for Marlboro in the USA in 1992. This resulted in a series comprising around sixty photos, only fragments of which have previously been exhibited; it was on the basis of this series of pictures that Blum became the most widely and internationally known photographer in this field.
In the context of the Adolf Fleischmann retrospective, we will also be presenting commissioned artworks, created for the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection by Hartmut Böhm and Andreas Schmid.

Andreas Schmid, Lichtungen (Clearings), 2009

We will be exhibiting Andreas Schmid’s light stelae installation in dialogue with Fleischmann’s artworks: the vibration of the colors in Fleischmann’s artworks finds an answering echo in the spatial-temporal movement of the colored lights in Schmid’s artwork. The artworks by Andreas Schmid are informed both by their locations and by the passage of time. The temporary spaces he creates allow their visitors’ external perception to segue into proprioception as they move through the rooms, discovering their transitory nature. Entering into a dialog with the positions taken by painters in the 1960s, Schmid modifies architectural, transitional rooms to become slowly changing drawings of light in space. A computer program modulates the coloring and intensity of the columns of light in a gentle rhythm. The drawings of light that Andreas Schmid creates in space thus open up another, separate space in which a patient observer will be able to observe the slow pulse of change – a space for visual exploration and Meditation.

Hartmut Böhm, or-or, 2016

Hartmut Böhm, who was born in Kassel in 1938, has been creating artworks at the interfaces between Concrete Art, minimal art and conceptual art for five decades now. Many of his sculptures and objects are characterized by the terms ‘seriality’, ‘relief’ and ‘progression’, which connects him with the oeuvre of Adolf Fleischmann. These are sculptural-aesthetic concepts whose differentiated scale systems oppose the disorder of the world, confronting it with an ethos in which the will is directed towards the disciplined finding of form, in a manner that is both intellectual and in harmony with the working materials. Hartmut Böhm first conceived the idea for his new group of artworks – the table piece group – in 2013. These are arrangements of found objects from the studio – drawing apparatus, working materials, working tools, adhesive tape rolls, index card boxes, invitation cards, and brochures – on simple tables, arrangements in which the individual object becomes part of a formally developed vocabulary, a visually composed Arrangement.
The artwork commissioned by the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, or-or, 2016, is a continuation of this series, and can be seen as a visual essay on the subject of his artistic oeuvre. Passing along this seven-meter-long display, the viewer passes through the vocabulary of Hartmut Böhm’s intellectual landscape. This artwork, which contains a wide range of material from the realms of typographical objects, of artists’ materials, and of selected objects from the studio, can be read in a number of different ways. The artist himself has offered the following terms for the consideration of anyone attempting to read the piece: matrix and metaphor, emptiness and volume, overlayering and penetration, system and syntax, form and structure.

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  • -
    Guided Tour: On the Musicality of the Linear
    This tour will examine the question of how light, color, and geometric patterns are used to give rhythm to and to dynamize abstract/linear space/image creations.
    The tour will be held in German language.
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    Guided Tour: Seriality, Relief and Structure – Modulations as Visual Vocabulary
    This tour is a quest for the recurring motif elements and ‘spiritual landscapes’ of the exhibited artists and their artworks.
    The tour will be held in German language.
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    New Mercedes-Benz Art Collection Commissioned Artworks – Renate Wiehager in Dialog with Hartmut Böhm and Andreas Schmid
    As a key part of the collection’s concept, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection regularly commissions artworks from selected artists.

    Last year, in a continuation of his new “table piece” artwork group, Hartmut Böhm began to create the seven-meter-long spatial sculpture “or-or” (2016), which is composed of seven table elements. The seemingly severely formal arrangement of found objects from his studio and from art history reflects diverse developments in Böhm’s work since 1960, side-by-side with developments in art over the same period. What are the dialogic relationships between the objects, and how do they retrospectively reflect the genesis of the artist’s work and of his understanding of art? What are the roles played by serial formation, proportion, deconstruction, and scale? And, finally, what place does this artwork group occupy in the oeuvre of Hartmut Böhm?

    Andreas Schmid’s light stelae installation “Lichtungen-Berlin [Clearings-Berlin]” reflects the artist’s temporary and situation-based working methods. In line with this, he has entirely rethought and adapted the artwork acquired in 2009, based on a commission from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, for the current exhibition “Adolf Fleischmann Retrospective” at the Mercedes-Benz Contemporary. With the aid of a programmed computer control system, the artist composes a variety of sequences and intensities for the twenty-one colored fluorescent tubes. The resulting slowly-changing space-light figure creates an architectonic transitional area and dialogue space with Fleischmann’s abstract paintings, and accentuates Fleischmann’s key painterly goal: to achieve vibration and intimacy of color. What is the aesthetic concept behind the artwork? What is the relationship between the light sequences and the exterior and interior perception?

    Both talks will be held in German language.
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    Guided Tour: Dialogue Interactions
    During this tour, the positions of different artists will be compared, in a dialogue process: revealing not only their unique qualities, but also their parallels and affinities in addressing artistic issues. Andreas Schmid’s light stelae installation, for instance, is shown in dialogue with Adolf Fleischmann’s work: the vibrations of color in Fleischmann’s work echo the spatial and temporal movements of colored light in Schmid’s work.
    The tour will be held in German language.
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    Guided Tour: Wild Energies – Rhythmizing & Dynamizing Picture Spaces
    It is no accident that Adolf Fleischmann uses the words ‘fugue’ and ‘opus’ in the titles of his pictorial compositions – his visual music scores produce a complex, rhythmically crafted pictorial space with vibrating color effects. Vertical lines that appear to float, following their own rhythm, are a significant factor in the theme of color extended into space. Dieter Blum similarly succeeds in creating pulsing movement factors in the medium of photography – spectacular ‘speed ornaments’, the rapid movements of beast and rider. Lassos whirling through the air create dancing momentary visual lines and optical blurs – taking the visible to the point of dissolution.
    The tour will be held in German language.
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    Children's workshop
    Our 2-hour workshop is designed for primary school children aged between 6 and 10 years. At Mercedes-Benz Contemporary we will carry out experiments with colors and techniques, linked to the current exhibitions ‘Adolf Fleischmann. Retrospective’, ‘Dieter Blum. Cowboys’ and ‘Vis-á-Vis with Adolf Fleischmann: Hartmut Böhm and Andreas Schmid’. We will learn how art can be created by light. And we will realize abstract paintings and collages whereby we explore the tension between art and advertising.
    Please register via mail to Admission is free. The number of participants is approximately 10 children. The event will be held in German language.
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    Guided Tour: Concept and Line
    This tour focuses on the intersections of concrete art, minimal art and concept art in the oeuvre of the contemporary artists Hartmut Böhm and Andreas Schmid, asking to what extent a relationship exists between these artworks and the abstract tendencies in the late work of Adolf Fleischmann, created in America.
    The tour will be held in German language.
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    Guided Tour: Art-Historical Contextualizings – of Inspirations and Emulators
    Artists use the history of art like a toolbox, referencing existing artworks or incorporating traditional forms into their own work as a way of transforming and incorporating standard cultural elements. This tour focuses on this artistic practice, attempting to trace wide-ranging reciprocal relationships with inspirations and templates. For instance, the American photographer Richard Prince draws on resources from the past in his image-stealing rephotographings of Dieter Blum’s cowboy motifs, and Andreas Schmid’s space-light drawing quotes painterly trends from the 1960s.
    The tour will be held in German language.




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