Auf Fassaden schauen oder Die vierte Wand der dritten Pädagogin
June 26 – August 20, 2021
In her practice, Maximiliane Baumgartner negotiates artistic and pedagogical models, in which concepts of education, urban planning, and public space can be traced. Her solo exhibition Auf Fassaden schauen oder Die vierte Wand der dritten Pädagogin (Looking at Facades or The Fourth Wall of the Third Pedagogue) addresses different spatio-temporal layers in and around the Kunstverein.
The notion of the façade functions as an extended figure of thought: the Kunstverein’s exhibition space is seen as a public site that stands in frictional relation to its surroundings and history. Adapted to the scale of the institution, the outlines of the façade of the Hof-Atelier Elvira appear on the wall. The building was commissioned by the women’s rights activists and couple Anita Augspurg and Sophia Goudstikker in 1889. Located just a few steps away from the Kunstverein, the photo studio with its female protagonists formed an important site of feminist self-assertion in the city. In 1937, when the “Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung” (Great German Art Exhibition) was held at Haus der Kunst and the “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art) exhibition organized by the National Socialist Party was shown in the expanded rooms of today’s Kunstverein, the “cleansing” of Munich led to the brutal demolition of Hof-Atelier Elvira’s façade. In the exhibition, the history of this site and its architecture is traced through the medium of painting, pointing to tensions between historiography and the politics of memory.
In addition to the figure of the façade, the exhibition’s title, Auf Fassaden schauen oder Die vierte Wand der dritten Pädagogin, points to yet another layer. The “fourth wall” describes the invisible border between the seemingly closed world onstage and the audience’s reality—which participatory approaches often thematize and make visible. Baumgartner is constantly working with the threshold and transition to the “outside,” both in the individual works, namely in her engagement with the Hof-Atelier’s historical façade, as well as in the construction of the exhibition. On the other hand, the title refers to a conception of painterly practice as an expanded field of action which does not exclude pedagogical mediation, but explicitly cites it as a motif.
Baumgartner’s engagement with Munich’s urban space goes back, among other things, to the Fahrende Raum, a space of action pedagogy, which she initiated and programmed in cooperation with others in Munich until 2019. Like Baumgartner herself, most of the progam’s collaborators have a hybrid understanding of their practice as artists, authors, or educators, such that their ideas of what constitutes artistic or mediating activities consciously overlap.
As a supplement to the exhibition, Baumgartner has compiled a selection of footnotes, captions, quotations, and adaptations of archival material that reveals the sources and voices in her own artistic research. The footnotes can be viewed and used via the following website: www.aktionsraeume.org.
The exhibition is accompanied by Baumgartner’s first comprehensive publication, Ich singe nicht für Bilder schöne Lieder (I Don’t Sing Beautiful Songs for Pictures). The book is a joint project between the Neuer Essener Kunstverein and Kunstverein München and includes new texts by Elke Krasny, Karolin Meunier, and Moritz Scheper as well as a conversation about Baumgartner’s artistic practice between Luca Beeler, Lucie Kolb, Maurin Dietrich, Gloria Hasnay, and the artist. The publication is designed by Ibrahim Öztaş.
PROGRAM OF EVENTS
Sunday, June 27, 4pm
Book Release: Ich singe nicht für Bilder schöne Lieder
with Maximiliane Baumgartner, Luca Beeler, Maurin Dietrich, Gloria Hasnay, Lucie Kolb, Gina Merz, and Karolin Meunier
Thursday, August 5, 7pm
Online conversation with Tom Holert
Image: Maximiliane Baumgartner, The Lovers, the Studio, a Facade and their Perpetrators – Hof-Atelier Elvira, 2020. Courtesy the artist.