The successful collaboration between the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) and the Schering Stiftung marks its 15th anniversary in 2023. Both institutions are taking this festive occasion to highlight the resulting collection of contemporary drawings in a special exhibition. The collection has grown to more than 130 works from the 1970s to the present day produced by 30 outstanding German and international artists, including N. Dash, Nadine Fecht, Dan Graham, Julie Mehretu, Matt Mullican, Carsten Nicolai, Tomás Saraceno and Jorinde Voigt.
The Schering Stiftung collection at the Kupferstichkabinett is dedicated to the artists’ inquisitive gaze and the connection between the arts and sciences. Emphasis is placed on contemporary abstract drawing whose point of departure originates in line and its multifaceted formulation. The exhibition also examines boundaries, their broadening, and cross-media’s impact on drawing.
The exhibition examines how artists convey their perception of the world in an image and which contexts and discourses have gone into shaping it. What frame and which ideas do artists place around that section of the world they have chosen to scrutinise? American artist Matt Mullican’s edition Subjects (2018) greets visitors to the show. In ten lithographs augmented by pencil drawings, Mullican unfurls a system of signs he has been developing since the 1970s to describe the world and the universe. The third work, titled World Framed, reflects humanity’s view of the world – one continuously influenced by pre-existing knowledge and ideas.
Questions pertaining to how we perceive our environment and form our image of the world accompany visitors throughout the exhibition. The artists brought together here are not interested in representing reality objectively or naturalistically in their drawings but rather in devising abstract visual inventions: sign and colour systems, notations and scores, gestures and grids, clusters of lines and meshes, as well as cracks and folds.
The drawing utensils consist of media commonly used in the 20th and 21st centuries, including ballpoint pens, fine-liners and pencils, both graphite and coloured. Unusual means and materials are also used: spider webs, hair, salt and water from the sea, chemicals and prehistoric stone tools. Drawing and printmaking are also combined. Drawing and other contact with the work is carried out directly the fingers – or even the entire body. Sometimes the act of drawing becomes a dance. The works result from interplay between planned and random processes as well as rational and emotional ones. They reveal, in particular, the potential of experimentation and inquiry in drawing.
Photos by Jens Ziehe