Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt (b. 1932 in Wurzen), a resident of Berlin for over seventy years, is the recipient of the Hannah Höch Prize 2022 for her unique and wide-ranging artistic oeuvre. Now for the first time, a major exhibition at the Kupferstichkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is devoted to her work.
The exhibition revolves around Wolf-Rehfeldt’s graphic works, created between 1972 and 1989/90 in East Berlin on her “Erika” typewriter. These typewritten images, composed of letters and symbols, have an affinity to concrete poetry, tend toward the abstract and architectural, and were expanded into playful collages in the 1980s. Wolf-Rehfeldt also actively participated in the international Mail Art scene and sent her “typewritings” to artists both inside and outside the borders of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) that were closed to her. In so doing she developed a global network of communication. Now, at ninety years old, Wolf-Rehfeldt recalls: “I had the ambition, like a spider in a web, to spin my threads to every place on earth.”
Wolf-Rehfeldt sometimes asked the recipients of her graphics to artistically augment them, resulting in the creation of collaborative collages. Along with her own pictorial montages, these works establish a connection to Hannah Höch (1889–1978), linking the two artists across decades and national borders. Pieces by both artists are now on view together in the exhibition in the Kupferstichkabinett, where Wolf-Rehfeldt’s typewritten images also enter into a dialogue with conceptual and language-based works from the 1960s to the present from the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett. The exhibition thus functions as an artistic network into which works by Wolf-Rehfeldt are embedded.
With around 120 pieces, the exhibition features works from the extensive collection of the Kupferstichkabinett as well as numerous loans from the Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst in Bremen, the Galerie ChertLüdde in Berlin, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), and the Kunstfonds of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden as well as private collections in Germany. We are grateful for their support.
An exhibition of work by Iranian artist Farkhondeh Shahroudi (b. 1962), recipient of the Hannah Höch Advancement Award 2022, is simultaneously on view in the foyer and the central cube of the exhibition space.
With the kind support of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
Photos by Jens Ziehe, unless otherwise stated.