Upcoming

Philippe Vandenberg

Kamikaze

»I am an artist of emotion and reflection. I don’t mean sentimentalism, the emotional, but the shock of the emotion that triggers, as it were, the reflection. Only reflection creates space.«

Philippe Vandenberg 2008

The Hamburger Kunsthalle is presenting the most extensive exhibition of the work of Philippe Vandenberg (1952–2009) to date, comprising some 80 paintings and over 120 drawings and prints. This is the first solo show at a German museum to feature the Flemish artist, who was highly acclaimed in his home country and whose radical and unsparing oeuvre is just now being discovered by a broader international audience. Impossible to pin down to any single artistic »style«, Vandenberg created complex images of our times which resonate with both contemporary relevance and an existential dimension.

The exhibition title »Kamikaze« (divine wind) is a term we know from Japanese suicide air missions during the Second World War, or in a figurative sense as a description of self-defeating actions. Philippe Vandenberg chose to elevate this concept to his central artistic principle. For him, kamikaze meant a form of creative destruction that would enable something new to arise from the ashes of what went before. Radical changes in direction and agile thinking are the preconditions for this kamikaze mind-set. Or, as the artist once put it: »You have to stay mobile, absolutely mobile.«

Awaiting discovery in the exhibition is a highly diverse and multifaceted body of paintings and works on paper: figurative depictions are gradually usurped by abstract geometric overpaintings and vice versa, while monochromatic and narrative works share equal ground. Literature and art history, myths and legends as well as current world events were all fodder for Vandenberg’s art. In his final years, the artist produced images of arresting intensity peppered with words and sentence fragments. His works set out to investigate the human condition and great life themes such as memory and forgetting, hatred and violence, cruelty and agitation as well as interpersonal closeness and a sense of belonging. By turns stimulating, disturbing and touching, these images are an invitation to profound introspection.

With »Philippe Vandenberg: Kamikaze«, the Kunsthalle continues its series of monographic exhibitions (devoted in recent years to Eva Hesse and Gego in 2013/14 and to Geta Brătescu in 2016) designed to introduce viewers to the work of contemporary artists who are not well-known in Germany.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive publication (German/English/French), edited by Brigitte Kölle and Felicity Lunn, with texts by Harald Falckenberg, Josephine Karg, Brigitte Kölle, Felicity Lunn, Johannes Muselaers and Marek Wieczoreck. Approx. 100 illustrations, 272 pages, hardcover. Published by Uitgeverij Kannibaal, Belgium, 2018.

Debuting in the exhibition is a film specially produced for this occasion: »L’important c’est le kamikaze« (2018) by filmmaker Guillaume Vandenberghe (son of Philippe Vandenberg). Running time approx. 18 minutes.

The exhibition will subsequently be shown at the Pasquart Kunsthaus in Bienne (Switzerland).

Supported by: Deutsche Bank AG, Flanders State of the Arts and Ministry of Culture and Media Hamburg

 

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Heinrich Reinhold

Tracing the Landscape
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HAMBURG SCHOOL

The 19th Century Rediscovered
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In the Light of the North

Danish Painting from the Ordrupgaard Collection
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Tiepolo, Fragonard, Goya

The Freedom of Imagination
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