Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Aufruf zur Alternative / Appeal for Alternatives

With the exhibition Aufruf zur Alternative, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen inaugurates the Schmela Haus as a new project space in Düsseldorf’s historic district. Eight contemporary works by Shaina Anand, Luca Frei, Group Material, Christine & Irene Hohenbüchler, Jenny Holzer, Sora Kim, Sarah Pierce, and Kateřina Šedá reactivate the former gallery building as an exhibition space. This exhibition, with its site-specific installations, generates a network of links between the building’s history, its singular architecture, and its contemporary utilization. On view through 17 July 2011.

In 1967, gallerist Alfred Schmela commission this building—later named after its proprietor—from renowned Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck. The first erected in the Federal Republic solely as a commercial art gallery, this building unites the functions of art gallery and private residence for the owner in a sophisticated way. Even back then, the Schmela Haus was regarded as an incunabulum of contemporary architecture. Its original intention and the function of its architecture are reflected in the works featured in this exhibition. These are found in the entry area, gallery, office level, and living space. For the first time, visitors have an opportunity now to explore the entire house, experiencing it through these works of art.

In programmatic terms, the title of the exhibition Aufruf zur Alternative / Appeal for Alternatives—a citation from Joseph Beuys—stands for the works of the participating artists. All of them are characterized by a poetic engagement with society. In 1978, Beuys formulated his appeal in the Frankfurter Rundschau for measures against the economic and ecological crisis, military threats and crises of consciousness and of meaning. The works in this exhibition take up his plans for wide-ranging protest and update them artistically and sociopolitically. As a historic and social space, the Schmela Haus offers an ideal setting for their reconfiguration.

Our media partner is the newspaper Handelsblatt
With support from Schlösser Alt

Participating artists
Shaina Anand, Luca Frei, Group Material, Christine & Irene Hohenbüchler, Jenny Holzer, Sora Kim, Sarah Pierce und Kateřina Šedá.
New, site-specific installations have been produced especially for this exhibition by Sarah Pierce, Luca Frei, and Christine & Irene Hohenbüchler, as well as by Sora Kim.

Aufruf zur Alternative / Call for Alternatives, published by the Handelsblatt Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 2011. Edited by Lisa Marei Schmidt and Antonia Lotz, contains interviews with Ulrike Schmela and all of the exhibited artists, as well as archival materials related to the Schmela Haus. Design: SA M AEL, London/Paris, German and English, ISBN 978-3-941773-11-0, 14.80 euros, the catalog will appear April, 2011.

Program in conjunction with the exhibition

Thursday, April 14, at 7 p.m.
Catalog presentation

Thursday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m.
Workshop and performance with Sarah Pierce

Thursday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Fritz Haeg (architect/artist), performance/salon

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
Mutter-Ey-Straße 3
40213 Düsseldorf

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