Public guided tour "Scherer" and "Graphics of Expressionism"
Illuminated by Vaclav Pozarek
Hermann Scherer (1893–1927) was one of the most important representatives of Expressionism in Switzerland. In his work, the last four years of his life are the most important time. This is where "Scherer becomes Scherer" by breaking completely new ground, inspired by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The exhibition focuses on Scherer's printmaking works and shows how the technique of woodcuts strengthens his efforts to find new forms and figural abstraction.
A special feature of the exhibition are the original wooden sticks, which can be seen here for the first time in public. The furrowed surface reliefs of the plates, most of which are processed on both sides, show the vehement blows of Scherer's cut irons materially. The printing blocks are shown in the immediate vicinity of the printed sheets, on which they have been peeled off in varying thicknesses on different papers.
Thematically, Scherer's woodcut oeuvre bundles the central aspects of his entire oeuvre: the existential isolation of the human being in nude and individual portrait, couple constellations (which cannot escape this isolation), landscape images in expressive immediacy, friendship images as a mirror of the private, artistic and intellectual network. In addition, there are the portfolio works, which have hardly been examined so far, in which Scherer takes a novel with Dostoevsky's Raskolnikoff and a play with The Baal by Bertold Brecht as a starting point. What is striking here is the tendency towards an abrupt "change of scene", in which the gaze jumps from one intense image to the next. In it, the aesthetics of the expressionist silent film are shown to be formative, to which Hermann Scherer reacted immediately.
The exhibition was created in close cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Basel. In the Bündner Kunstmuseum, the exhibition has been completely reformulated. The artist Vaclav Pozarek was won over for the exhibition design in Chur.
"Everyone belongs to us, who directly and freely expresses what urges him to create." – Programmatically, a woodcut stands at the beginnings of Expressionism. In 1906, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, as one of the driving forces of the Brücke (1905), prints the program of the artist group as a graphic sheet. In the material and technical conditions of graphics, artists of Expressionism found ideal conditions for their demands and demands on a new conception of art. By means of expressive lines and reduced surfaces, the graphics thus shaped the artistic work of an entire generation of artists.
Beyond the large-format, colour-intensive paintings of Expressionism, the exhibition invites visitors to explore the expressiveness of impressive works of art by artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Hermann Scherer, Albert Müller, Paul Camenisch and Werner Neuhaus in lithographs, etchings and woodcuts.
Thematically, the works revolve around the spectrum of human existence between big city life and natural idyll, showing parks and cafés, vaudeville and dance as well as landscapes, railway accidents and scenes of the night. In their immediacy, expressive portrait depictions confront the viewer. While the motif of Baden women reflects the intimacy of the format, massive mountain worlds testify to the influence that Switzerland had as a reference point in the art landscape of the time.
The occasion for the presentation of the collection is the parallel opening exhibition "Hermann Scherer. Notches and edges" (18.06 – 25.09.2022).
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