The Nationalgalerie's permanent collection at the Hamburger Bahnhof is dedicated to the major directions in art from 1960 to the present, including the changes and redefinitions in painting, the continuation of classical sculpture in object art, the special role of photography and multimedia concepts in video and film.
A main emphasis of the collection is art on video and film. A collection of 1970s video art, made as a gift by Mike Steiner, as well as the Joseph Beuys-Medienarchiv form its basis. In addition, key works of video art by Peter Campus, Gary Hill, Marcel Odenbach, Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, etc., are among the inventory. This focus on trendsetting video and film works has been recently continued by diverse positions, which include films by Matthew Buckingham and David Lamelas, with sound works, for instance by the Canadian artist pair Janet Cardiff / George Bures Miller, up through extensive installations by artists such as Daniel Pflumm, Christian Jankowski and Arnout Mik.
Works by Gerhard Richter, A.R. Penck, Sigmar Polke and Imi Knoebel may be counted among the central points of departure in the collection within the field of the painting. The basic attitude connected to these positions, namely to proceed not from reality, but rather from a reality determined by the media during the selection of the motifs, has shaped the development of painting to this day. Works by younger artists such as Michel Majerus, Corinne Wasmuth, or the artist group Suzi Pop, illustrate the changeability of the visual in the age of the computer. However, even the rather classically-inspired compositions of Johannes Kahrs refer back to earlier examples; in this case to older art history.
Photography, which was only able to establish itself as an independent art form during the course of the 1980s, is also represented in the collection in diverse forms. In addition to works by the so-called Becher School (Hilla and Bernd Becher, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff) are examples of staged and conceptional photography, next to those works whose epicenter is based at the threshold between photography and painting, including abstract views of landscapes by the Berlin artist Michael Wesely.
Among the collection's special features is a large ensemble of designed spaces that have been completely worked out to the last detail. They span from early examples from the 1960s to contemporary installation art. The collection owns complex, large-scale works by such important artists as Marcel Broodthaers, Bogomir Ecker, Edward Kienholz, Via Lewandowsky, Hermann Pitz, Fritz Rahmann and Robert Wilson.
Donation by Friedrich Christian Flick
In February 2008 the collector Friedrich Christian Flick donated 166 works of art to the Nationalgalerie. This donation includes works of the last forty years, including main works by artists like Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, David Claerbout, Stan Douglas, Martin Kippenberger, Bruce Nauman, Raymond Pettibon, Jason Rhoades, Wolfgang Tillmans. The donation is the largest gift of a private person the museums since its foundation in the 19th century. The works of the donation will be presented in various shows during the next years. In addition, a publication about the donation is planned.
More Informations at www.smb.museum
Foundation for Contemporary Art
Furthermore, as a result of the ‘Stiftung für zeitgenössische Kunst' (Foundation for Contemporary Art), founded by the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie in 2005, conceptual currents in art after 1980 can now be increasingly acquired. Two rooms by Hans-Peter Feldmann, which raise incisive questions about the art of everyday life, should be emphasized. Video works by Andrea Fraser and the photographic works by Christopher Williams stand for a deconstruction of roles and/or the conditions of production in art. The placard-style typeface "Amerikaner" (Americans), by the Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig, refers to the effect of logos and signs that have characterized the world of art for quite some time.
Isa Genzken / Wolfgang Tillmans: Science Fiction / Hier und Jetzt zufrieden sein, 2001 , Schenkung von Friedrich Christian Flick, 19. Februar 2008 © SMB, Schenkung Friedrich Christian Flick
Dieter Roth / Björn Roth: Gartenskulptur, 1968ff, Schenkung von Friedrich Christian Flick, 19. Februar 2008 © SMB, Schenkung Friedrich Christian Flick
Hans-Peter Feldmann, Installation Hamburger Bahnhof © VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn 2008, Foto: Roman März
Michel Majerus, b.o., 2000, Acryl auf Baumwolle, 260 x 450 cm © Nachlass Michel Majerus, 2000, Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
Aernout Mik, Videostills from Aernout Mik Refraction, 2004, videoinstallation © Aernout Mik, courtesy carlier | gebauer, Berlin; SMB, Nationalgalerie