Künstlerblick. Clemens, Sigmund & Siecaup

100 Years of the Clemens Collection

26 June to 27 September 2020

The MAKK, the Cologne Museum of Applied Arts, will be celebrating a special anniversary on 5th May, 2020: precisely one hundred years ago, the Wilhelm Clemens Collection was opened to the public with a ceremony held at the former building on Hansaring. The museum, which was then called Kunstgewerbemuseum, had once again received a generous donation that, in terms of scope and quality, has barely been surpassed ever since: about 1600 objects from the Middle Ages to the Baroque period provide a unique panorama of the skills of the artists and artisans from these epochs – spanning from paintings and sculptures, tapestries and textiles, faience and pewter, jewellery and goldsmith work to hunting utensils and weapons.

A trained painter, Wilhelm Clemens (1847-1934) had particular qualities that enabled him to resolutely build up such a fine collection of the highest calibre: “a good eye and the ability to perceive from the point of view of an artist” as the then-museum director, Brigitte Klesse, stated in 1981. ‘Artistic perception’ is the idea behind the exhibition Künstlerblick. Clemens, Sigmund & Siecaup, which, on the one hand, will be a tribute to Wilhelm Clemens and, on the other hand, will be focusing on artistic perception by presenting the contemporary viewpoints of the Rotterdam-based artist Sigmund de Jong and the Cologne-based artist Ulrike Siecaup.

Together with the MAKK, these two artists have selected representative highlights from the Clemens Collection. Setting these pieces in new artistic contexts within the exhibition provides an opportunity of perceiving each work in new and different ways. To this end, Sigmund de Jong developed ‘wall concepts’, which implement colours, lines and monochromes to intensify the spaces while Ulrike Siecaup juxtaposes the historical pieces with her ‘painted realities’. The latter are based on photographs that are interlinked in a painterly process.

The aim of this artistic intervention is to create a new visual presence of these three interwoven levels. The artists refer to vibrancy and processuality, also with regard to the historical objects – and will be additionally emphasising these aspects by a one-time repositioning of their works that will be showcased from August 4 on.

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