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Michel Majerus /
Kurt Schwitters
miteinander gegenüber #6
05 11 22
05 03 23

From 5 November 2022 to 5 March 2023, Kunsthalle Bielefeld presents the sixth edition of the exhibition series “miteinander gegenüber” with works by Michel Majerus and Kurt Schwitters.

The “miteinander gegenüber” series focuses on a work from the collection of Kunsthalle Bielefeld that addresses central issues in juxtaposition with another specially selected artistic position. In the encounter between Michel Majerus and Kurt Schwitters, these are: What distinguishes painting? What are the fundamental elements of painting? Where do its boundaries lie?

Despite his early death, the Luxembourg artist Michel Majerus (1967-2002) left behind a multi-layered oeuvre. Among other things, he varies motifs and themes from Web 2.0, uses visual languages from comics or advertising. In this way, he creates painterly collages that spring from pop culture and everyday life, samples different elements, reassembles them and thus transfers them into other contexts. At the same time, Majerus repeatedly refers to art historical models and references, such as Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) or Frank Stella (*1936). With “pressure groups 2″ Majerus refers to Stella’s “shaped canvas” works. These specially shaped canvases are accompanied by a tendency to do away with the flat, rectangular panel painting. This is intended to bring about a correspondence between pictorial content and form, an interlocking of outer and inner form.

About a hundred years ago, Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) designated the syllable “Merz” as a word mark, thus propagating his multifaceted work in the fields of art, literature and typography. The term “Merz” stands for a concept of the greatest possible unreservedness and artistic freedom in the choice of means of expression. With his utopia of the “Merz Gesamttweltbild”, Schwitters aimed at a unification of art and non-art. The montage and material art with which he physically expands the space of the picture by means of objects integrated into the painting is decisively influenced by him. But even beyond his “Merz pictures”, Schwitters’ paintings are characterised by his preoccupation with questions about the status of painting: Through the use of colours and forms and their combinations, Schwitters creates spatial effects.

Is a painting something flat or an object in space? How is space created – especially without a recognisable object? What role does colour play in this?
The joint juxtaposition of the two artistic positions invites us to discover commonalities and contrasts, overlaps and idiosyncrasies in comparative viewing and to get to the bottom of them.

The exhibition is part of the Germany-wide exhibition series “Michel Majerus 2022″, which, twenty years after the artist’s death, is dedicated to various work phases and aspects of his extraordinary oeuvre. In addition to the presentation in Bielefeld, 17 other institutions are participating.
A comprehensive publication will be published in 2023 to accompany the exhibition series.

“Michel Majerus – Next Step
Film screening and talk with Benedikt Fahrnschon
On 14 December 2022, the documentary film “Michel Majerus – Next Step” will be shown at 6 pm at Kunsthalle Bielefeld. The film recalls the life and work of the artist.

Curator: Benedikt Fahrnschon