Current Exhibitions

On Hybrid Creatures

Sculpture in Modernism
Germaine Richier (1904–1959) Das große Schachspiel (5 Figuren), 1959/61 Bronze, König: 205 x 50 x 30 cm; Dame: 226 x 45 x 30 cm; Springer: 167 x 40 x 30 cm; LĂ€ufer: 173 x 63 x 30 cm; Turm: 197 x 40 x 30 cm Hamburger Kunsthalle, Dauerleihgabe der Stiftung

Press information


For the first time in over 20 years, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is showing a sculp­ture exhibition based on a specific theme. On Hybrid Creatures. Sculpture in Modernism assembles around 25 works by world-renowned sculptors such as Julio Gonzålez, Karl Hartung, Marino Marini and Henry Moore, as well as one piece by the lesser-known Hamburg artist Ursula Querner. Forming the focal point is the sculpture Large Game of Chess (1959/61) by French artist Germaine Richier which is composed of five hybrid figures: This masterpiece opens up a dialogue with other sculptures that share formal and thematic parallels as well as a simi­­lar hybrid or mixed character. The works on view from the collection of Hamburger Kunsthalle, dating from the 1940s and 50s, have in some cases not been exhib­ited for decades.

Like Richier, many artists in the mid-twentieth century were fascinated by pro­cesses of change, transformation and by primordial nature. Although change is inherent to nature, it nonetheless provided a source of inspiration and a reliable constant in a period of historical and political upheaval. A second formative influ­ece on the sculptural »hybrid creatures« from these years was the experience of war. The capitulation of the German Reich and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 did mark the definitive end of the Second World War, but the dawn of the Cold War then introduced a latent nuclear threat.

The varied exhibition ranges from palm-sized objects to larger-than-life-size figures, made from materials that are just as diverse, from bronze to steel, brass, wood and marble. With their vibrant and idiosyncratic expressiveness, the »hybrid creatures« induce a broad spectrum of impressions, thoughts and sensations.
They can spirit us away to eerily absurd and surreal worlds, or instead offer the consolation of nature as a force for eternal growth and harmony.

A film featuring the exhibition is available on It offers conceptual insights and provides an overview of the development of the sculp­ture in modernism. In the app of Hamburger Kunst­halle an audiotour on the exhibition can be downloaded free of charge. The audiotour portrays five selected pieces, including Germaine Richier’s Large Game of Chess. Inclusive tours that focus on a tactile experience are planned and are open to people with and without vi­sion impairments.

The exhibition is accompa­nied by a publication (in German) in Kleine Reihe series of the Freunde der Kunsthalle e. V. with texts by Jasper Warzecha and Karin Schick as well as pictures of all sculptures exhibited. The booklet will be available in the museum shop or online on

Supported by: Freunde der Kunsthalle e. V., Hans-Otto und Engelke SchĂŒmann Stiftung