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The Schlumpers
Art in Hamburg
25 November 2005 - 5 February 2006


The Schlumpers have long been an established part of original Hamburg culture. This studio community of talented artists with different mental handicaps celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2005, and the Hamburger Kunsthalle is presenting an exhibition of work by the group’s members to mark the occasion.

The exhibition offers a comprehensive view of the Schlumpers’ artistic output to date. The range of styles and modes of artistic expression within the group is very wide: Werner Voigt, for example, takes a figurative approach – among others, his multipart work based on the altar by Master Bertram (Hamburger Kunsthalle, Old Masters) is on show here. Other exhibits include large-format abstract works, for example by Inge Wulff or Helga Thiers, drawings by Angelika Bienst and Klara Zwick, and a selection of object-based pieces such as Karl-Ulrich Iden’s Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools) or Rolf Pott’s Haufen Arbeit (A Pile of Work).

The history of the Schlumpers began in 1980 with the launch of a public art project in a newly established house for handicapped children and young people, located on the grounds of what was then called the Alsterdorfer Anstalten (Alsterdorf Institution). Rolf Laute, an artist who has been the group’s mentor from the outset, took part in the open competition with a proposal to create a wall design for the foyer of the house in collaboration with future residents. A project group was formed and the proposal was carried out with great élan and to a surprisingly high standard. Rolf Laute discovered a wealth of unexpected artistic talent among those involved.

The idea was developed of continuing such artistic activities with gifted individuals. An improvised studio was set up in 1984 in the basement of the Stadthaus Schlump, part of the Alsterdorfer Anstalten. The Schlumpers took their name from the street in which the building was located: ‘Am Schlump’. Inge Ahrendt, Uwe Bender, Irma Saß, Ringa Spingies, Werner Voigt, Horst Wäßle, Inge Wulff and Klara Zwick were among the original members of the group; works by all of these artists can be seen in this exhibition.

The group held on to its name when the artists moved out of the studios ‘Am Schlump’ into new facilities in a redeveloped slaughterhouse on Hamburg’s Feldstrasse in 1998. They had discovered by chance that (according to Grimm’s Dictionary) ‘Schlump’ means an ‘unexpected piece of luck’ – something unplanned which takes place ‘without forethought’ The name has proven to be highly appropriate as a description of the Schlumpers’ approach to their art, in that they generally implement their artistic ideas in a spontaneous manner rather than following trends in contemporary art or reflecting theoretical issues.

The exhibition, which was developed in close collaboration with Rolf Laute, features works by Inge Ahrendt, Uwe Bender, Thomas Benkmann, Angelika Bienst, Ulla Diedrichsen, Willi Eggers, Martin Gertler, Margot Gruhl, Hannelore Iden (née. Dietz), Karl-Ulrich Iden, Wolfram Pabst, Rolf Pott, Hugo Rothenhäusler, Irma Saß, Ringa Spingies, Helga Thiers, Werner Voigt, Horst Wäßle, Bernd Wicklein, Inge Wulf and Klara Zwick.

Carolin Quermann


 

 

 
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