September 30, 2016 until January 29, 2017
MKM Museum Küppersmühle for Modern Art

The stage is set for an intriguing encounter between Georg Baselitz and Emilio Vedova, two highly influential figures in Europe’s post-war art history: The German artist and sculptor Georg Baselitz (born in 1938 in the Saxony town of Deutschbaselitz under his real name of Hans-Georg Kern) ranks among the leading exponents of art “made in Germany”, and since the 1970s he has garnered global acclaim for his maltreated Heroes and inverted motifs. The Venetian Emilio Vedova (1919-2006) was one of the most prominent representatives of post-war abstract painting, whose highly expressive works are embroiled in a fascinating conflict between colour and form, gesture and beauty.

The German painter and the Italian Informel artist shared a deeply personal relationship which traces back to 1957, when Baselitz acquired Vedova’s painting Manifesto Universale. On the express wish of Georg Baselitz himself, it has been hung in the exhibition opposite his work Win. D. from 1959, which is exemplary of his early period. The two artists first met in person in Berlin in the early 1960s – a period, which formed a lasting impression on both of their outputs. An intensive friendship subsequently blossomed, which was to endure until Vedova’s death in 2006. At their first joint exhibition in 2007 at the Venice Biennale, Baselitz presented a painterly homage to his friend, combined with installations by Vedova. Further joint exhibitions in Berlin (2008) and Salzburg (2015) followed.

The Ma grigio series from 2015/16 alludes more or less overtly to Vedova, but also to other artist colleagues, such as Lucio Fontana. A pair of crossed legs in high-heel shoes rotate around a diffuse central point, engaging in a frenetic dance: Black, white and hues of grey dominate the paintings – as a colourful reminiscence to Vedova, in common with the majority of the Italian titles in the series.

Credits: Baselitz – Vedova, MKM 2016, © Stiftung ür Kunst und Kultur, Photos: Georg Lukas, Essen

BASELITZ – VEDOVA is an exhibition of the Foundation for Art and Culture, Bonn, in cooperation with the Emilio e Annabianca Vedova Foundation in Venice. Curators are Fabrizio Gazzarri and Walter Smerling. The exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Evonik Industries.