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Arthur Köpcke on his 75th birthday
26 September – 30 November 2003

Galerie der Gegenwart | 1. Floor

In the 1960s Arthur Köpcke was one of the most important and well-known German Fluxus artists. Ich denke jede Nacht / an Addie Køpcke / Joseph (I think every night / of Addie Køpcke / Joseph) wrote Beuys, expressing his admiration for both the man and the artist Arthur Köpcke. The Hamburg-born artist lived from 1958 until his death in 1977 in Copenhagen.

Over the past decades the Hamburger Kunsthalle has purchased many works by Köpcke. Along with additional loans from German and Danish collections, these works are now being presented to the public to mark the 75th anniversary of the artist’s birth. Among the exhibits waiting to be discovered for the first time are the manuscript edition of the reading-work-pieces, Köpcke’s treasure vault of ideas in the form of drawings, writings and collages, and the Rollbilder, works that can be rolled up and transported, which he used as illustrative material in Fluxus performances. Besides these, the exhibition features a selection of early object montages, works on canvas and pieces involving audience participation. During his time in Hamburg Köpcke was also active as a writer. He incorporated written elements in his pictures, later he read from his own texts and published the recordings of his readings. For this reason the relationship between text and image is the particular focus of this exhibition.

The exhibition unites examples of all of Köpcke’s ways of working and thinking in the period between the early 1960s and the mid-70s. His artistic treatment of images from glossy magazines, advertising and television is particularly topical when viewed from today’s perspective with the widespread modification of everyday life by high technology. Köpcke focused all his attention on the media images and consumer goods of the time. This engenders a new respect for things that would otherwise be given only a fleeting glance; mass-produced articles that are cheaply acquired, quickly worn-out and then often thoughtlessly thrown away, are transformed by Köpcke into collages and montages and – following in the Dada tradition – given greater value in the artwork. ”fill: with own imagination” was Köpcke’s motto, one which to this day invites the viewer to encounter art and everyday life in an inventive, creative manner.

The exhibition features around 40 works on paper, paintings, sculptures and objects. It will subsequently be shown in the Kunstverein in Düsseldorf and the Fridericianum in Kassel.
A catalogue is being published to accompany the exhibition, priced € 18.

Exhibition curator: Marvin Altner




Hamburger Kunsthalle Glockengießerwall 20095 Hamburg
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