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Black is Beautiful

Douglas Allsop, Till Augustin, Claudioadami, Helmut Dirnaichner, Alfonso Fratteggiani Bianchi, Raphael Grotthuss, Bim Koehler, Siegfried Kreitner, Maria Lalić, Horst Linn, Martin Lehmer, Matt McClune, Pfeifer & Kreutzer, Nadine Poulain, Robert Sagerman, Hans Schork, Regine Schumann, Lars Strandh, Heiner Thiel, Jeremy Thomas, Peter Weber, Susan York and Pierre Soulages

Exhibition from September 10th to October 30th, 2021

Opening: Friday, September 10th, 6 to 9 pm
Matinee: Saturday, September 11th, 12 am to 4 pm

Special opening hours during Open Art Munich:
Friday, September 24th, 6 to 9 pm
Saturday / Sunday September 25th / 26th, 11 am to 6 pm

My exhibition themes can be traced back to what I experienced during the early years of my gallery, when I began to explore art in the US, especially in New York. It was a solo exhibition of the American painter Ad Reinhardt at MoMA in the summer of 1991 that captivated me and was to play a crucial role in my gallery work in the years thereafter. The exhibition showed, for the first time, a retrospective selection of his work, which, historically, can be closely connected with American Expressionism and Minimalism. Ad Reinhardt, born in 1913, began working in the 1930s with geometric abstraction and then in the 1940s turned to painting, what he termed, “allover patterns.” In the 1950s he sought to free himself from everything that could express “content, ideas or self-representation.” Pure painting – monochrome fields on canvas in red, blue and, ultimately, black – had to be enough. Hardly visible, especially in the black works, were overlapping cross-shaped elements.

What impressed me at the Reinhardt exhibition was, at the entrance, visitors were encouraged to let their eyes adjust to the darkened route leading to the show rooms, a necessary step to be able to experience the “colorfulness” of the black paintings.

As I left the exhibition, it became clear to me that the “art of seeing” monochrome paintings would be one of the primary curatorial focuses of my future exhibitions. This was the beginning of a gradual process that has shaped my gallery’s program and which, today, I would characterize as specializing in reduced, monochrome and minimalist forms of painting, sculpture and photography. 

Following two of my gallery shows on the theme “Black and White” in 2013 and 2015, my wish from the summer of 1991 has come to fruition with the exhibition “Black is Beautiful.” Exactly 30 years later, my gallery in Munich is showing, as part of Kulturherbst 2021, 22 artists from my own program as well as a work by Pierre Soulages – on loan from my esteemed colleague Edith Rieder – the twentieth-century grand master of “black.”

With this exhibition, I would like to demonstrate the variety of this oldest of all colors, for, as Soulages said:

« Avec le noir c‘est la vie de la lumière qui apparait. » 1)
« With black, light comes alive. »

Renate Bender, September 2021

1) Pierre Soulages, in: Entretien publique. Collection Inconotexte, Marseille 1998

Hans Schork, „MELENTAN” – 2021
Maria Lalić. Working on ‚Left HandRight Hand‘ drawings
Pfeifer & Kreutzer, „2-PARTS“

Funded by: