I spent the weekend in Munich, sampling Bavarian culture, architecture and, of course, the odd German beer. In the short time I was there, I visited the Pinakothek der Moderne. A contemporary gallery in an architecturally stunning modern building, Pinakothek is a mightily impressive venue. My visit coincided with the opening day of Frauen, an exhibition of Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann and Willem De Kooning. A thematic exhibition examining the role and depiction of women in the artists work, Frauen was well served by a rich visual and conceptual dialogue between the work of all three artists.
De Kooning was the ace in the hole, offering an expressive energy alongside what I read to be a intriguing stylistic ‘dual’ between Picasso and Beckmann. This was a well curated exhibition that impressively used the work of the three artists to provide necessary focus to what is a gargantuan subject matter, all whilst managing to avoid lapsing into worn cliches of female representation. The open layout of the galleries was at times confusing, becoming a mini labyrinth of cool white rooms and high doorways. I am still genuinely unsure if I missed out a room.
I was at the gallery to see In The Space of The Beholder: Contemporary Sculpture a showcase of sculptural works from the Saamlung Moderne Kunst. Highlights included seeing the beautifully banal architectural work of Manfred Pernice for the first time and Christian Jankowski’s Pump House Gallery ‘refurbishment’ film. The title of the show seeks to invoke the sculptural encounter that the viewer has with the work. As a result works are segmented into sculptural strategies such as objects, architecture, sound etc. However the difficult layout of the galleries became more of an issue here than it was inFrauen, primarily in the corridor space that Pernice’s work was displayed. The exceptional positioning of Marc Manders ‘Silent Factory’ (2010), a large scale work in an accommodating space was the perfect display conditions for the piece (picture above). Overall the exhibition didn’t feel like an exhibition, more of an ad-hoc meeting of singular works herded together at the gate and put into groups for the purposes of a thin exhibition pamphlet. This suited some works more than others, creating some interesting configurations but having a detrimental effect on others (a Jonathan Monk work was placed in an unflattering and difficult to navigate corridor). It would be interesting to see a larger, more ambitious sculptural survey exhibition appearing in the gallery in the next few years, alongside improving the flow between the impressive gallery spaces.