Catalogue in conjunction with the exhibition at the Weserburg | Museum of Modern Art from May 10, 2008–November 1, 2009
This book is the product of extensive study devoted to a truly extraordinary private collection. It was written in conjunction with the exhibition entitled “Go for it! Olbricht Collection (a sequel)” presented at the Weserburg in 2008/2009. Many visitors were intrigued by the combination of older works, some of which date back to the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and others produced in recent years, as this configuration departs from the familiar art-historical classification system based on periods and genres and certainly does not reflect the standard canon of a museum of contemporary art. Many of the themes and issues to be explored here transcend the boundaries of art per se and call attention to previously undiscovered affinities. Yet the focus of interest is not a skillful arrangement of disparate objects but rather the comprehensible expression of the collecting philosophy of the physician and natural scientist Thomas Olbricht of Essen.
The works on display establish formal and thematic relationships that represent much more than ordinary stylistic or genre-related aspects ever could. The cross-references Thomas Olbricht creates are at the same time surprising and convincing. They reveal not only a personal spectrum, but are time and again reminiscent of relationships that are part of our cultural history and our collective pictorial memory.
What catches the viewer’s eye within the exhibition is the perfect reconstruction of a cabinet of curiosities. This compendium of older objects, which is singular for a collector of contemporary art, establishes motif- and content-related ties to the other works in the exhibition as well as to a range of themes that point beyond art as such. Indeed, the cabinet of curiosities embodies the prototype of today’s notion of the museum. Not yet separated according to categories, one finds specimens, crystals, anatomic models, measuring instruments, as well as exquisite works of art assembled together into a unique network of relationships. The purpose here is to represent the universal interrelationships between all things in terms of a Weltanschauung. “The cabinet of curiosities becomes an analog of humankind’s brain that successively retrieves the obliterated wisdom of paradise.” (Horst Bredekamp). Dealing with this particular theme within the framework of the Olbricht Collection in no way leads to descending into and wallowing in the past; rather, in addition to many surprising cross-references, it allows us to understand the present as something that has evolved out of history.
This publication is less a catalogue than a guide. The texts and illustrations it contains will illuminate the interrelationships and the often very personal impulses associated with this part of the collection even after the exhibition is over.
This book has been produced with the active support by the Museumsfreunde Weserburg e.V.
The catalogue is being published by the Salon Verlag
Ed. Peter Friese, Weserburg | Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen
144 pages, 51 color illustrations and 8 black-and-white illustrations
Hardcover, linen, thread-stitching
21,5 x 14 cm
(german / english)
Francesco Apollodoro, Roger Ballen, Charles Bell, Berlinde de Bruyckere,
Rafal Bujnowski, Thierry de Cordier, Wim Delvoye, Otto Dix, Marlene Dumas,
Albrecht Dürer, Paul Egell, Elmgreen & Dragset, Eric Fischl, Marianna Gartner, Conrad Gesner, Herman Henstenburgh, Ashley Hope, John Isaacs, R.Kenton Nelson, David Nicholson, Loretta Lux, Ged Quinn, Meister mit dem Papagei, Grayson Perry, Richard Prince, Gino Rubert, Norbert Schwontkowski, Cindy Sherman, Rebecca Stevenson, Paloma Varga Weisz, Ralf Ziervogel, Stephan Zick and others.