Abstract Worlds – Between Expressionism and Constructivism

Until 13 September 2020

Expressionist and Constructivist tendencies of the 1910s and 1920s are among the most important thematic focuses of the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum. The exhibition demonstrates how these two directions – their artistic differences notwithstanding – liberated painting from the depiction of the object and tied onto everyday life.
While the object is the starting point in Expressionism, its depiction is more a matter of addressing an inner necessity than a true-to-life illustration. The artist deals above all with his own everyday reality, the joys and vices of the big city such as the theatre and cabaret are just as much the subject for their art as the longing for nature. The Expressionists sought harmony with nature in idyllic seclusion. In formal terms, colours became increasingly independent of the object until merging into abstract rhythms.
In a chronologically parallel development, various tendencies of geometrical abstraction arose across Europe that completely turned its back on the motif in the truest sense of the term. Pictorial elements such as colour, form and composition that banned narratives of everyday life from their depictions became the focus of artistic explorations. Artists, whether in Germany, France, Russia or the Netherlands, nevertheless pursued the vision of a close consolidation between art and life. Together with architects and designers, they worked on a holistic life draft that connected art and the everyday.     


© VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2020 für Archipenko, Alexander; Beckmann, Max; Belling, Rudolf; Creed, Martin; Domela, César; Gleizes, Albert; Heckel, Erich; Hofer, Karl;
Hoffmann, Leni; Huszár, Vilmos; Kupka, Frantisek; Metzinger, Jean; Morellet, Francois; Pechstein, Max; Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl; Survage, Léopold; Van der Leck, Bart; Zadkine, Ossip

Alkema, Wobbe © Courtesy of the artist's sons E.A. und O.H. Alkema
Graeff, Werner © Museum Wiesbaden, Werner Graeff-Archiv
Nolde, Emil © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll