Press material for our exhibitions


Ausstellungsplakat mit einem Selbstporträt in schwarz-weiß und dem Titel der Ausstellung
Ausstellungsplakat “Stellung beziehen. Käthe Kollwitz, Mona Hatoum”

From March 23 to June 16, 2024, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld will be showing the works of two artists who critically reflect the socio-political events of their respective times and “take a stand” through their works.

The exhibition brings together Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) and Mona Hatoum (*1952, lives in London), two artists – one historical and one contemporary – whose art serves as a memorial against suffering and oppression and for more humanity. The Kunsthalle is presenting around 80 drawings, prints and sculptures by Kollwitz, which are set in dialog with five large-scale sculptures and installations by Hatoum.

“I want to work in this time” is one of the most famous statements by Käthe Kollwitz, probably the most famous German artist of the A 20th century artist who has always combined her artistic practice with a socio-political, humanitarian and pacifist commitment. She is known for her support for the people oppressed by poverty and war at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. With empathy, she took on the human fate in the face of industrialization, rural exodus and unemployment.
Kollwitz’ experience of two world wars and their consequences, including the loss of her own son, who fell in 1914, are also reflected in her work. She chose printmaking and drawing as her main media and found an independent visual language of great seriousness and urgency.
To this day, her works have not lost their topicality and relevance, as the prominent poster “Never again war” (1924) for the “Socialist Workers’ Youth” in Leipzig shows.
It remains the most famous German anti-war poster to this day.

The Kunsthalle Bielefeld owns an extensive collection of works by Käthe Kollwitz. She is one of the first artists from whom works were purchased for the museum’s collection. Based on this collection of important works, the exhibition presents impressive loans from the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne as well as from other museums and private collections in Germany and Switzerland.

A total of five works by the Beirut-born, British-Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum (*1952, lives in London) add a contemporary perspective to the exhibition. Hatoum, who paid a brief visit to London in 1975 and was prevented from returning to her homeland by the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon, is one of the most influential artists of her generation. Like Kollwitz, the artist and winner of the 2010 Käthe Kollwitz Prize thematizes basic human experiences in her work.

Central to her work are the themes of exile and displacement, as well as the familiar and the domestic, which are alienated, threatened or destroyed by institutional violence and systems of power Hatoum articulates these themes through a clear, minimalist formal language. In her large-scale installations, she often uses simple geometric forms that suggest order and stability, while at the same time carrying the potential for sudden collapse.

While Kollwitz always remains true to the external appearance of people on the figurative level, people are also present in Hatoum’s works. This is also illustrated by her work “Cellules”, consisting of eight steel cages of different sizes, each tailored to the average human height. Inside each mesh of rods is a fragile and amorphous hand-blown red glass object, trapped in its own anthropomorphic cage like an alien being or unspecified body part. “Cellules” means “physical cell” in French, but can also refer to a holding cell in a figurative sense.

Both artists work with a formal language reduced to the essentials and a minimalist use of color. Although both deal with serious themes, their works are not an expression of resignation. With their respective active admonition against suffering and oppression, they demonstrate, on the contrary, a positive commitment.

An exhibition in cooperation with the Kunsthaus Zürich, in collaboration with the Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln.

Dr. Henrike Mund, Christina Végh

Invitation to the opening
We cordially invite you to the opening on Friday, 22.3.24 at 6.30 p.m. with speeches by Dr. Dagmar Nowitzki, Chairman of Kulturstiftung Pro Bielefeld, Konrad Delius, Chairman of Förderkreis Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Christina Végh, Director, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, and Dr. Henrike Mund,
Curator and Head of Collection, Kunsthalle Bielefeld

Exhibition catalog
A German/English catalog will be published by Hirmer Verlag to accompany the exhibition. With contributions from Jonas Beyer, Jacqueline Burckhardt, Hannelore Fischer, Françoise Forster-Hahn, Natascha Kirchner and Henrike Mund.
Price: 45 Euro

Upcoming exhibitions


Ausstellungsplakat mit einem Selbstporträt in schwarz-weiß und dem Titel der Ausstellung
Ausstellungsplakat “Stellung beziehen. Käthe Kollwitz, Mona Hatoum”

Past exhibitions


Ausstellungsplakat in Orange- und Rottönen. Links gießt eine Hand eine Flüssigkeit aus. Rechts verstreicht eine Person Farbe auf dem Boden.
Ausstellungsplakat Aktion – Geste – Farbe. Künstlerinnen und Abstraktion weltweit 1940-70


With the exhibition “Action, Gesture, Color: Women Artists and Abstraction Worldwide 1940-1970”, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld is paying tribute from December 2, 2023 until March 3, 2024 an extraordinary generation of female artists. As the first exhibition of its kind in Europe, it brings together more than 100 paintings by over 70 international, today often little-known female artists who helped shape and define gestural, abstract painting in the mid-20th century.
Gestural painting, known in Europe as “Informel” and in the United States as “abstract expressionism”, refers to an art movement that has been associated with a number of major artists in metropolitan cities such as New York and Paris. The exhibition aims to break down this art-historical understanding and expand it to include an international and feminist perspective.
On display are works by well-known female artists, including the Americans Lee Krasner (1908-1984) and Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), the Austrian artist Maria Lassnig and the Portuguese Maria Helena Vieria da Silva, as well as previously unknown positions such as the Mozambican-Italian artist Bertina Lopes (1924-2012) and the South Korean artist Wook-kyung Choi (1940-1985). The Kunsthalle Bielefeld is also focusing on German women artists from the Informel movement, including Sigrid Kopfermann (1923-2011), Sarah Schumann (1933-2019) and Detmold-born Hedwig Thun (1892-1969), to whom the Kunsthalle dedicated a solo exhibition back in 1969.
At a time when the world was coming to terms with the anxieties of the Second World War and operating against the backdrop of a deeply conflicted political and social climate, artists around the world were moving away from figurative painting and looking for a new form of artistic expression. In the West in particular, gestural abstraction was seen as art that embodied the ideals of a free democratic world. Abstraction thus established itself as an expression of personal and political liberation and was seen as a signpost to a freer and fairer world.
Following the avant-garde movements of Expressionism and Surrealism, these artists have revolutionized the way they create art. They regarded the creative process as something that goes far beyond the mere creation of works of art: paint as a material becomes the actual object in its composition and the way it is applied to the canvas in the first place. Paintings are no longer seen as pictures, but as events.
In abstract expressionist/informal painting, the gesture directly connects the body and the work. From the very beginning, there was a proximity to dance and performance as areas in which women were active as role models. Many of the artists were activists, dancers and performers themselves or were inspired by them. This reciprocal relationship is made clear in the exhibition through selected video works. All these works now come together in the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in a location that also offers a historically appropriate architectural setting: “The Kunsthalle Bielefeld, which was designed and built in 1968, the same period in which most of the works in the exhibition were created, represents a similar paradigm shift,” emphasizes Christina Végh, Director and Co-Curator, Kunsthalle Bielefeld. “The open floor plan of the building, which does not give visitors any direction, shows parallels to gestural abstraction, which does not attempt to direct the viewer’s gaze. Rarely is it possible to experience architecture and art in such a close fusion.” The exhibition is produced in cooperation with the Whitechapel Gallery, London and the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles.

Laura Rehme, Christina Végh

This traveling exhibition is an initiative of the Whitechapel Gallery in London by Iwona Blazwick and Laura Smith. It was designed by a curatorial advisory board including Iwona Blazwick, Margaux Bonopera, Bice Curiger, Christian Levett, Erin Li, Julia Marchand, Joan Marter, Laura Rehme, Agustin Perez Rubio, Elizabeth Smith, Laura Smith, Candy Stobbs and Christina Végh.

Exhibition catalog
The exhibition is accompanied by a German/English catalog that presents over 80 abstract artists, including the American artists Lee Krasner (1908-1984) and Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) as well as lesser-known figures such as the Mozambican-Italian artist Bertina Lopes (1924-2012) and the South Korean artist Wook-kyung Choi (1940-1985). With contributions by Griselda Pollock, Elizabeth A. T. Smith, Iwona Blazwick, Christina Végh, Laura Rehme and others.
Price: 50 Euro

The exhibition is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Dr. Dagmar Nowitzki Foundation for Art and Culture.

Mary Abbott, Etel Adnan, Maliheh Afnan, Ruth Armer, Gillian Ayres, Ida Barbarigo, Noemí Di Benedetto, Anna-Eva Bergman, Janice Biala, Bernice Bing, Sandra Blow, Dusti Bongé, Chinyee, Wook-kyung Choi, Jay DeFeo, Martha Edelheit, Amaranth Ehrenhalt, Asma Fayoumi, Lilly Fenichel, Perle Fine, Else Fischer-Hansen, Audrey Flack, Elna Fonnesbech-Sandberg, Juana Francés, Helen Frankenthaler, Sonia Gechtoff, Judith Godwin, Gloria Gómez-Sánchez, Elsa Gramcko, Sarah Grilo, Grace Hartigan, Lilian Holt, Buffie Johnson, Yuki Katsura, Helen Khal, Elaine de Kooning, Sigrid Kopfermann, Lee Krasner, Maria Lassnig, Bice Lazzari, Lifang, Bertina Lopes, Margaret Mellis, Marta Minujín, Joan Mitchell, Aiko Miyawaki, Yolanda Mohalyi, Nasreen Mohamedi, Emiko Nakano, Lea Nikel, Tomie Ohtake, Fayga Ostrower, Mercedes Pardo, Charlotte Park, Betty Parsons, Pat Passlof, Alice Rahon, Carol Rama, Marie Raymond, Judit Reigl, Deborah Remington, Britta Ringvall, Marie-Louise von Rogister, Erna Rosenstein, Behjat Sadr, Nadia Saikali, Zilia Sánchez, Fanny Sanín, Miriam Schapiro, Sarah Schumann, Ethel Schwabacher, Sonja Sekula, Toko Shinoda, Sylvia Snowden, Janet Sobel, Vivian Springford, Franciszka Themerson, Alma Thomas, Yvonne Thomas, Hedwig Thun, Nína Tryggvadóttir, Elsa Vaudrey, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva et al.a.


Links eine gelbe Fläche mit Schrift, rechts ein Bild mit bunten gezeichneten Klecksen, Sternen und Katzen.
Plakat zur Ausstellung Keren Cytter. Hot Lava Night

The Kunsthalle Bielefeld presents from December 2, 2023 until March 3, 2024 the exhibition “Keren Cytter. Hot Lava Night”.
The Israeli artist Keren Cytter (*1977 in Tel Aviv) tells stories – absurd, funny and mostly abysmal. Her multidisciplinary work includes films, drawings, plays, sculptures, novels, life guides and children’s books. Cytter’s work is characterized not by language alone, but in particular by his exploration of different forms of storytelling.
The exhibition presents over twenty drawings and two new video works by the artist, which are being shown for the first time at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld. These include the eponymous short film “Hot Lava Night”. Radio reports depict the extent of a fictitious catastrophic flood that leads to a global crisis of unimagined proportions. While showing people’s capacity for compassion and unity, the film depicts the blossoming of a young romance that begins in New York and ends at a coastal refuge. A place where there are no signs of devastation and the boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred.
In her approximately 90-minute film “White Elephant”, Cytter follows the relationships between a woman and a drone, a sex addict, a confused actor and a neighbor mourning her dead father. The protagonists are connected to each other through various contexts and constellations. Cytter stages a complex web of interpersonal relationships between loss, love, grief, values, dependencies and longings.
The artist’s drawings also revolve around social alienation, the function and representation of language and the significance of the individual in society. In addition to her own works on paper, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld is showing Cytter’s artistically designed script excerpts and storyboards for her films as well as drawings that appear in “White Elephant”.
The film “White Elephant” will be shown every Wednesday at 7 pm during the exhibition period (except on January 24 and February 28, 2024) and on Saturdays and Sundays at 4 pm (except on January 13 and February 17, 2024).

Benedikt Fahrnschon

Keren Cytter studied Fine Arts at the Avni Institute of Art and Design, Tel Aviv, and was a fellow at De Ateliers, Amsterdam, from 2002-2004. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at internationally renowned institutions such as the Kunstmuseum Winterthur (2020), the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2019), the Museion Bolzano (2019), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2015), the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2014), the Tate Modern, London (2012) and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2011).
She has participated in numerous group exhibitions and biennials, including Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt (2017); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2015); Kunsthalle Wien (2015); Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2011); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2010); 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010); Whitney Museum, New York (2009); 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, (2009). Her films have been shown at numerous film festivals, including Bolzano Film Festival (2019); European Media Arts Festival, Osnabrück (2018); Bergamo Film Festival (2016); Berlin International Film Festival, Forum Expanded (2008). Cytter was awarded the Joseph Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2021), Absolut Art Award, Stockholm (2009), Ars Viva Prize, Kulturkreis der Deutschen Wirtschaft, Berlin (2008).


Links: Ein Haufen von Spielzeug liegt auf dem Fussboden: Puppen, ein rotes Feuerwehrauto und Stofftiere. Ganz oben liegt eine Puppe auf dem Rücken, die an einen menschlichen Körper erinnert. Rechts eine altrosa Fläche mit dem Ausstellungstitel.
Plakat zur Ausstellung Christa Dichgans/ Paul McCarthy. (Un)Schuldiges Spiel? miteinander gegenüber #9

The Kunsthalle Bielefeld presents from December 2, 2023 until March 3, 2024 the ninth edition of the exhibition series “Face to Face and Side by Side”. In this series, a work from the Kunsthalle Bielefeld collection meets a selected external work from another institution. This encounter leads to new, often surprising perspectives and invites a comparative view.

This time, a large-format photograph from the series “PROPO” (1994) by the American artist Paul McCarthy (*1945) from the ahlers collection and the painting “Spielzeugstilleben (New York)” (1969) by the German artist Christa Dichgans (1940-2018) from the Kunsthalle Bielefeld collection meet under the title “(Un)Schuldiges Spiel?”.

Dichgans’ painting shows a chaotic accumulation of used toys and thus thematizes mass society, mass consumption and also mass taste. Seemingly carelessly accumulated piles of toys are a recurring motif in the work of the artist, who is one of the most important female protagonists of Pop Art and is particularly known for her early work from the 1960s. Her compositions can be read as a protest against materialism, consumerism and excess combined with neediness.

McCarthy’s photograph also features a larger-than-life toy doll. The irritating depiction shows a maltreated doll with black skin, which is a racializing symbol of anti-black racism whose representation simultaneously updates stereotypical ideas. Between 1972 and 1983, McCarthy staged numerous deliberately disturbing performances in which he explored the moral boundaries of the audience and denounced social grievances. In addition to puppets, he used many bizarre props that were stored in suitcases and boxes to be used in future performances. In the 1990s, McCarthy finally opened the suitcases and boxes again and photographed each object. This larger-than-life photographic series is entitled “PROPO”. The photograph of the doll with black skin and severed legs is part of this series.

Both Dichgans’ paintings and McCarthy’s photography can be understood as a mirror of society and raise questions: What do children play with? What values are conveyed with the toy? What impact does this have – and what does it say about our society?

“Face to Face and Side by Side #8” is being created in cooperation with the Ahlers Pro Arte Foundation.
“Face to Face and Side by Side” is being produced in cooperation with the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1288 “Practices of Comparison. Ordering and Changing the World” at Bielefeld University.

Benedikt Fahrnschon

About Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy (*1945 in Salt Lake City, USA) initially developed a multifaceted artistic practice in which he sought to push the boundaries of painting through the use of unorthodox materials such as bodily fluids and food. Since then, he has become known for his visceral work in a variety of media – from performance, photography, film and video to sculpture, drawing and painting. McCarthy earned a BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and an MFA in multimedia, film and art from USC in 1973. For 18 years he taught performance, video, installation and art history at the New Genres Department of the University of California.

About Christa Dichgans

Christa Dichgans (1940-2018, both in Berlin) studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin in Fred Thieler’s class from 1960 to 1965. In 1966 she received a DAAD scholarship and lived in New York for a year with her then husband, the artist K.H. Hödicke. In 1967, she held her first solo exhibition at the Lempertz Contempora Gallery in Cologne. Two years later, she met the gallery owner and her second husband Rudolf Springer, who represented her from 1971. During this time, she developed her own variant of Pop Art with surreal echoes. For financial reasons, Dichgans bought used household utensils and toys for her son from the Salvation Army. The impression of mountains of carelessly discarded toys leads to numerous works in which she criticizes consumerism and superficial lifestyles.