In the exhibition MAGIC AFFAIRS. Contemporaries Meet Magic Realists, works by contemporary artists enter into a dialogue with key pieces from the MMKA’s magic realist collection. Works by the German artists Heike Kabisch (1978), Constantin Wallhäuser (1975), Andrea Lehmann (1975), and Dutch photographer Anoek Steketee (1974) confront paintings by Carel Willink (1900 — 1983), Pyke Koch (1901 – 1991), Dick Ket (1902 – 1940) and Johan Mekkink (1904 – 1991).

Magic realism emerged in the period between the two World Wars, a turbulent time marked by the threat of war, existential concerns, and fear — factors that also cause a sense of uncertainty again today. The painters Willink, Koch, Ket and Mekkink translated this unease into a mysterious, almost dark ambience and a supernatural, staged use of light Both magic realists and contemporary artists create a world with elements that are borrowed from visible reality:
“Depictions that are possible, but not probable.” (Dick Ket)

This bringing together of early 20 th-century magic realists and contemporary artists highlights the differences and similarities between the two groups’ social and personal themes, use of materials, and media.

The MMKA invited three smax curators, Arne Reimann, Jari Ortwig and Joanne Dijkman, to put together an exhibition related to its large collection of neorealist art. smax is a program for curators, based at Schloss Ringenberg (Hamminkeln), which gives young artists and curators the opportunity to build up their expertise over the course of a year. smax is a Euregio project and works with various partners, including the MMKA, in the border area between the Netherlands and Germany.

Installation view
‘Girl’, 2010. Plaster, wood, paint. 196 x 60 x 54 cm.
Installation view
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