Exhibition | 31.07.2009 EXTENDED UNTIL 9.05.2010

A.R. Penck

Sixty years of the Constitution, twenty years since the Fall of the Wall and reunification. In 2009/10, we in Germany are commemorating a number of historical events which have decisively defined the development of our country. This has prompted the Weserburg, Bremen’s museum of modern art, to introduce a two-part series of exhibitions that focus on the subject of Germany. It starts with the exhibition A.R. Penck—Deutschland (A.R. Penck—Germany), followed by Freibeuter der Utopie (Buccaneers of Utopia) next year.

In the German Democratic Republic, A.R. Penck (Ralf Winkler), whose work has been increasingly acknowledged in the West since the late sixties, could only be appreciated in the underground scene, as he was denied official recognition as an artist. In 1980, he was expatriated. After a short stay in West Germany, he moved to Dublin. His reason: “A German immigrant in Germany—that’s impossible. If one has to be an immigrant, then a real one.”

With the exception of Jörg Immendorff, Penck (*1939 in Dresden), examined the subject of Germany like hardly any other artist. In the early sixties he began producing his standart paintings, developing an artistic language based on simple sign structures that in an unmistakable way depict the social situation in the era of the German schism and the division of the world into two hostile blocs.

The exhibition presents the artist personality A.R. Penck with works from the Böckmann Collection, Berlin. With more than forty mostly large-format paintings from the years 1956 to 2007, it is one of the most important Penck collections in Europe. The Böckmann Collection comprises outstanding works from a number of the artist’s creative phases—from the early portraits; the standart, system, and world paintings; to the TM pictures and recent work.

The exhibition is being supplemented by artists’ books and disk records from the Karin and Uwe Hollweg and Manfred and Jacqueline Schmidt collections and from the archive of the Research Center for Artists’ Publications at the Weserburg, as well as by a film by Ebba Jahn. Another one of the exhibition’s goals is to describe Penck’s life as an artist between the East and the West by means of selected archive and documentation materials, at the center of which is his collaboration with Jörg Immendorff. As was the case for Immendorff, Penck’s work promoted a sound analysis of the social circumstances in a divided Germany. Based on this existence as a political artist between blocs, twenty years after the Fall of the Wall this exhibition sees itself as a forum for initiating discussion. The high-caliber paintings from the Böckmann Collection are therefore flanked by texts that concentrate on the cultural and sociopolitical situation in a divided Germany.


A catalogue is being published in conjunction with the exhibition which includes numerous illustrations and texts.

Tickets can be bought at the museum as well as in advance at Nordwest Ticket or the Bremen Tourist Center.

guided Tours

Cindy Sherman
Thursday 17.January, 18.00 Hour 

ausschweifend faul & zornig zaudernd
Sunday 20.January, 15.00 Hour 

Cindy Sherman
Thursday 24.January, 18.00 Hour 



Real Life – Real People. Mediale Experimente mit „echten Menschen“ in der Gegenwartskunst 
Thursday 07.February, 19:00 Hour
Ein Vortrag von Elisabeth Fritz, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena im Rahmen der Ausstellung What paradise? Sammlung Florian Peters-Messer


Denken in Bildern 
Friday 08.February, 18:00 Hour
Ein Vortrag von Elmar Mauch, Institut für künstlerische Bildforschung, Dortmund


Junges Blut 
Thursday 21.February, 19:00 Hour



A.R. Penck

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