On March 15th, 2009, at 11 a.m., the Gallery of the Artist Association from Mannheim will open a presentation of art by the artists of Bydgoszcz region.
(the exhibition will be open from March 15th till April 19th, 2009)
The exhibition is held under the honorary patronage of
in Mannheim: Dr. Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim
in Bydgoszcz: Mr Konstanty Dombrowicz, President of the City of Bydgoszcz

Mannheimer Kunstverein
Augustaanlage 58
68165 Mannheim

Municipal Gallery bwa
ul. Gdańska 20
85-006 Bydgoszcz

Mannheim is located in a low-level plain. The Rhineland-Palatinate and the near France in the West, Heidelberg and the Odenwald in the East, 80 kilometres to Frankfurt in the North and 60 kilometres to Karlsruhe in the South. The city is moulded by frankness, not only by its geography but also by the spirit of its inhabitants, at least since the time when the fortifications of Vauban were destroyed. The artistic life of our city is correspondingly lively; Museums, the Kunstverein, numerous galleries and a great number of artists of all branches and age groups are essential parts of the city and its vicinity.

The independent scene is traditionally strong. Specially remarkable are the makers of ZEIRAUM EXIT who – in the frame of their multimedia festival „Wunder der Prärie” („Miracle of the Prairie”) – annually are performing nearly in the whole town. Beyond that they recently started theatre- and dancing events, performances, art actions, poetry readings and exhibitions. Moreover, we have to mention the two non-commercial producer galleries PENG! and roZku (Rote Zelle Kunst), both located in the district Neckarstadt who continue the basic approaches of the legendary Heart-Gallery of the 90ies. You meet art in Mannheim everywhere and the city does not make most of its opportunities housing in its middle.

Photography has had a special strong standing leg in this city since a long time. Each two years a common photo festival is organized (together with Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg). Very famous photographers like Robert Häusser are living here and the museum „Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen” does not only dispose of the excellent photo gallery ZEPHYR but also of an own centre for photography, the „Forum internationale Photographie”.

But also other famous photographers from Mannheim have become known far beyond the town boundary like Horst Hamann, Peter Schlör and Claus Stolz, to only mention the three who are represented in the exhibition. In the nineties Haman won sudden reputation with his book „New York vertical” which – for the first time – surprisingly took the skyscrapers as a yardstick for the town. But since decades he has also portrayed his home town knowledgeably and fondly as e.g. in „Mannheim vertical”.

The black-white paper works by Peter Schlör belong to the best what nowadays black-white photography is able to show. His works, to be attributed to the conceptual landscape photography, are determined by strong light-dark contrasts. They are dominated by strong tectonics enabling a clear structuring of the picture space. Often in series, the artist describes the environment being influenced by men as scanty and dismissive.

On the other hand Claus Scholz takes pictures of the nearly impossible; especially his photos focussing on the subject sun, describe and demonstrate the power of the sun light in its course in the sky. Proudly the objective aims directly to the sun, and damages of the negative by the burning-in of the motive convey both an illustrative and metaphorical image of the stars.

The whole variety of actual artistic approaches and procedures can be found in Mannheim and its surrounding; painting, drawing, sculpture, plastic, video, performance, installation, intervention etc.

Working with space is especially distinctive for the art of Barbara Hindahl and Werner Degreif. Hindahl’s plastic and spatial-graphical works get into the room, describe and change it and thus shift the spectator’s perspective, wherein his movements are taken into account as an essential element of the work. Werner Degreif draws and constructs filigree objects of the daily use into the room which are changed by movements in the room and suggest the conclusion that everything is only a question of the point of view.

Monti la Plasma (vulgo Almontas Kriaunevicius) draws, paints and creates plastic objects which surprise and provoke („Arse in the Staircase”). Some of his figures, apparently without any self-consciousness, arise from little plasma puddles out of the soil like homunculi and from now on pursue the spectator in his dreams.
Ruth Hutter alienates among others photographs as are used for public relation- and other purposes. The photos of bikini beauties and grid girls as are found at Formula 1 are assembled with their own tear-stained and smashed faces to the horror of the spectator whose imagination of a well-being hormone world smashes to pieces. Hutter’s works, among them also video productions, have a strong effect on the spectator which hardly can be evaded.

„Malfabrik” by Konstantin Voits is working with the alienation of known trade marks, being interpreted in a new and cryptic way. Despite the change, we are immediately in the position to identify the logos and have to admit the question to what extend we let us manipulate every day by an omnipresent range of goods.

The world of figures by Michel Meyers seems to catapult us into a parallel universe, showing nightmarish, (sometimes alpine) traits and just for this reason seem to be to us bloody familiar. The paintings seduce to trace the hidden stories and to get lost in them – until you are bitten by one of the dogs which sporadically populate his works.
In contrast to this Gerd Lind prefers the field of the concrete art and likes the work with square mutations, exploring the relation of colour and form. Thus, in a nearly scientific consequence, series of paintings develop and investigate visual aspects.
Myriam Holme frees the art of painting from the 2nd Dimension in creating ensembles which include the objects. This enlargement of the painting area is consequently led into the room and creates a multi-performance which also refers to the sound of the title and with this is functioning multi-medially.

Sophie Sanitvongs’ work is always structured process-likely. Within her performance as e.g. „Identity” she requests passers-by to assign to her features, names and nationality, as appear in identity cards. As a result of the intersection a new, virtual identity developed, proving since then the artist’s identity as Maria Müller.

Waclaw Kuczma’s selection of the artists is consciously designed broadly and reflects exemplarily the potential of artists and arts in Mannheim. We are pleased that the cooperation with the Miejska gallery respectively our twin city Bydgoszcz could be achieved and give our thanks to the City of Mannheim and the Heinrich-Vetter-Foundation for their essential financial support. The Lord Mayor of the City of Mannheim kindly accepted the patronage for the part of the exhibition in Mannheim which underlines what important role this partnership plays in Mannheim.

We would like to express our very cordial thanks to the director of the Miejska Gallery and Waclaw Kuczma, who coordinated the whole project and who went to endless troubles to realize the complete project. This exchange of artists is only a beginning.

Martin Stather

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