Coppejans Gallery presents a duo exhibition from May to July with work by Joseph Beuys (Krefeld, 1921-1986) and the photographer Lothar Wolleh (Berlin, 1930-1979). Under the title "Wer nicht denken will, fliegt raus!" the intensive collaboration between the two German artists is highlighted.
The archives of the Lothar Wolleh Estate in Berlin contain more than 900 negatives depicting Beuys. On these images, now known worldwide, we see the artist in all his facets: Beuys as a performer, educator, researcher, activist and visual artist. At the same time, the portraits also show the essential elements in Wolleh's work as a photographer: intuition and interaction. In the exhibition exactly these core characteristics of both artists are related to each other on the basis of multiples and original objects by Beuys and analogue photos by Wolleh.
The collaboration between Beuys and Wolleh culminated in 1971 with the preparations and realization of Beuys' solo exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. There they built the exhibition together and Wolleh made the installation photos that would be depicted in the 'Unterwasserbuch': a binding of 30 PVC sheets that could be read underwater. In the end, only two copies of the book were made, one of which lies at the bottom of the sea along with a flashlight. The printed sheets eventually became the "3 Tonnen Editions" which have a special value for many collectors until today.
About the same time as this exhibition, a free exhibition will open in the M HKA about the many interactions between Lothar Wolleh and the artists who were active in the Antwerp Avant Garde scene around the Hessenhuis. The new book about the Beuys-Wolleh collaboration is also presented there by Antoon Melissen in collaboration with the publisher Kerber. This is a double edition, one of the publications being a re-edition of the Unterwasserbuch.
On May 12, 2021 it will be exactly one hundred years ago that Joseph Beuys was born. Beuys is internationally recognized as one of the most influential artists in recent art history. 2021 is therefore celebrated in the art world as the year of Beuys. Two years ago, Coppejans Gallery took the initiative to bring together various partners around Joseph Beuys and a program was created that will culminate during the Antwerp Art Weekend.
The partner organizations are:
Coppejans Gallery, Antwerp
Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp
Lothar Wolleh Estate, Berlin
M HKA and the Friends of the M HKA, Antwerp
Collection for Research on Artist's Publications, Antwerp
The BOS, Antwerp
The Studio, Antwerp
Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld/Berlin