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“Sculpture as Adventure”
Objects of Wonder at the PalaisPopulaire

From Henry Moore to Helen Marten: With masterworks from the Tate collection, “Objects of Wonder” shows how British artists have revolutionized the medium of sculpture since the middle of the twentieth century. The press reacted extremely positively to the exhibition, conceived exclusively for the PalaisPopulaire, particularly with Brexit on the horizon.
“A kind of anti-Brexit show” is how Stefan Trinks characterizes Objects of Wonder in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Ideally, museums should counter official policy, so it comes as no surprise that all four Tate Britain museums are now presenting their treasures on Unter den Linden (…): And the objects on display are certainly full of wonder, as the exhibition title promises.” Karlheinz Schmid from Informationsdienst Kunst also sees a link between the show and the current political situation, viewing the exhibition as “a well timed commitment to further cooperation, to ongoing dialog.” He concludes that it is “a rendezvous of big names” with “a conspicuously high quota of women” and “repeated surprises.” Ingeborg Ruthe (Berliner Zeitung & Frankfurter Rundschau) has a similar view. She emphasizes the “extremely European spirit” of the exhibition project. “A powerful statement on the freedom and borderlessness of art. “It provides incontrovertible proof that on the island, which is in the process of shutting itself off from the EU, the most important international movements and styles revolutionized sculpture of all things and influenced Europe’s art.” “In light of ‘Brexit’ the current exhibition of Deutsche Bank,” says Jörg Restorff in Kunstzeitung, “is like a political signal. (…) 70 sculptures from the collection of Tate act as ambassadors of sympathy, as it were.” And in the preview to the exhibition the newspaper writes: “Alongside iconic works of modern sculpture visitors can make some discoveries. (…) A tour d’horizon of British postwar sculpture.” The style section of Welt am Sonntag refers to Objects of Wonder as a current example of how British sculpture enriches our lives.  

In Berliner Morgenpost Angelika Hohmann calls the show a “spectacular exhibition that was conceived expressly for Deutsche Bank’s new rooms on Unter den Linden.” “It documents,” she adds, “the exciting path British sculpture has taken in 70 years.” The newsletter of Zeit Magazin reports on a “sensational group exhibition (…) All of the big names are really included, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, all with early, compelling works, as well as Helen Marten.” Klaus Hammer also describes it as an “impressive show” in neues deutschland: “In this exhibition we experience sculpture as adventure.” In Handelsblatt Christian Herchenröder praises the “highly ambitious commitment of Deutsche Bank,” which “impressively underscores this “profound exhibition.” In BZ Felix Seifert stresses the lightness and dynamism of the works exhibited and quotes Tate curator Elena Crippa: “The sculptures are on view in this combination for the first time.” For the website ARTinWORDS the exhibition documents a “revolutionary redefinition of sculpture,” while for Monopol it shows how “inconspicuous things can become astonishing objects due to distortion, recombination, and dramatic staging.”

In the art column of Tip Stefanie Dörre states that she saw “great works by artists ranging from Henry Moore to Sarah Lucas” at the PalaisPopulaire. Iris Braun, also writing for Tip, is particularly enthusiastic about the sculpture of Turner Prize winner Helen Marten, “one of the artist’s of the hour.” Motion pictures of the exhibition were shown in contributions by Tagesschau and museumsfernsehen.de. Kulturradio of rbb, Qiio, the magazine of the think tank Blogfabrik, Weltkunst, Brigitte, ExBerliner, as well as the websites iHeartBerlin, sculpture network, Blouin Artinfo, and even Naturstein online, the trade portal for the natural stone industry, also reported on the show. The latter of course referenced Henry Moore’s contribution to the exhibition – a sculpture made of Cumberland alabaster.    

In the exhibition “British sculpture proves to be extremely imaginative, cheerful, provocative, inventive, and aggressive,” asserts Elke Linda Buchholz in kunst+film. “These ‘Objects of Wonder’ provoke and challenge viewers, but also delight them.” Kunstmarkt.com declares that Objects of Wonder primarily highlights “the leitmotif of the transformation of everyday objects” (...) through “distortion and new combinations.” The German-English online magazine World of Arts discovers in the show many “artists experimenting with new forms and materials, seeking new ways to stand out and distinguish themselves.” And in her art column “Art aber fair” on Radio Eins Marie Kaiser praises the fact that there is a large share of women artists in the exhibition. Her conclusion: “It is a joy to view these objects of wonder in all their variety.”

In the face of the impending Brexit Matthew Sperin says in Apollo Magazine that many of the British artists whose works are on view at the PalaisPopulaire were or are internationally networked: “On the evidence of Objects of Wonder (…) Britain’s cultural relationship to the rest of the world looks healthy.” “Objects of Wonder can also be viewed as a sign of good neighborly relations, indeed relationships. Art thrives on international exchange, on mutual inspiration,” writes Nicola Kuhn in Tagesspiegel. For her, the “tremendously enlightening” show is “a magnificent stroll through art history.” “After its overture of 'Works on Paper',” a presentation of the best pieces from the corporate collection, Deutsche Bank has positioned itself as a cultural player in the heart Berlin with another heavyweight exhibition.”