Monika Baer. Neue Bilder. Hannah Höch Prize 2020
Jun 12, 2020 – Aug 2, 2020
Curator: Marius Babias
Monika Baer was awarded the Hannah Höch Prize 2020 by the State of Berlin for her outstanding artistic achievements. On the occasion of the award ceremony, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) will honor her complex artistic oeuvre with a solo exhibition. This first larger presentation of Baer’s work at an institution in Berlin offers insights into her most recent experimental approaches, begun last year in Los Angeles. With a new constellation of large-format paintings and small-format collages, Baer continues her investigation of art historical references as well as the new discursive spaces that painted images can produce.
In her work, often produced as series, Baer makes use of various painterly traditions and techniques, from monochrome and representational approaches to physical disruption to the surface of the canvas. During her studies in the 1980s, art was undergoing a period of repoliticization, in which art criticism questioned the autonomy of painting and its potential for innovation. Amidst this set of conflicts, Baer made the conscious decision to work within the medium of painting—with an interest in continuing the scrutiny of its underlying presumptions—which has remained one of her central artistic questions to this day.
Baer’s painting is guided by an understanding of the painting as a stage, and the pursuit of a choreography of seeing imbued with cultural history. Her latest works, presented at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, continue her exploration of the pictorial space as a theater setting, which she began in 1995. Walls structure the foreground and background to place them in perspective, evoking stone parapets and borders, as found in Renaissance portrait painting. The protagonists are trees and tree stumps, which move diagonally against a magnificent colorful sky, tilting or shedding their bark. The repetition of compositional elements and angles of inclination indicate the artist’s concern, not with illusionary effects, but with the concrete object as an embodiment to be explored in its specific, metonymic form and as part of a performance.
Monika Baer (*1964 in Freiburg im Breisgau, lives and works in Berlin since 1999) studied painting at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She currently teaches at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. She was a Regents’ Lecturer at the University of California in Los Angeles in 2018–2019, and previously a professor at Bard College in New York. Solo exhibitions (selection): Kunstmuseum Bonn (2019); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2016); Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2016); Art Institute of Chicago (2013); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2006); Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2005). Group exhibitions (selection): WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (2017); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Vienna (2016); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2015); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2013); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2010); documenta, Kassel (2007).
Monika Baer and Tonio Kröner (Artist, Berlin)
Monika Baer, Griselda Pollock (Art historian, University of Leeds), and Susanne Leeb (Art historian, professor for Contemporary Art, Leuphana University Lüneburg)
Monika Baer and Kerstin Stakemeier (Professor for Art Education, Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg)
All events take place with a limited number of participants – registration required.
To join the event, please register via our online form.
Accompanying the exhibition, upon Monika Baer’s initiative the first German-language edition of the essay “Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity” (1988) by Griselda Pollock, a pioneer of feminist art history and theory, will be published in the series n.b.k. Diskurs. In her examination of the artistic practice of women Impressionist painters, Pollock offers a brilliant analysis of class and gender relations since the end of the 19th century whose effects can be felt to this day. Moderne und die Räume der Weiblichkeit, the title of the German edition, will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König in Cologne, in a revised and extensively commented version with a foreword by Klaus Lederer and Marius Babias and an introduction by Griselda Pollock.