until 16.04. | #0403ARTatBerlin | Galerie Poll shows from the 20th February 2016 the exhibition “Starting over” – Photography, paintings and sculptures from the 60s and 70s. Erhard Wehrmann photography: Peter Benkert paintings / Bernd Damke paintings / Joachim Schmettau sculptures / Peter Sorge paintings.
The exhibition Starting over refers to photographies by Erhard Wehrmann, whose legacy is maintained by the Art Foundation Poll. Since the late 50s the photographer has accompanied many artists to the first documenta-exhibitions, as well as the Venice Biennale in the 60s, where he portrayed the artists together with their works. This also applies to multiple permanently and temporarily living artists in West Berlin.
Wehrmann’s photographies of Peter Benkert, Bernd Damke, Joachim Schmettau and Peter Sorge – all represented by Gallery Poll – originated between 1967 and 1975. They are being showcased for the first time along with paintings and sculptures by the four artists, which correlate to the time of creation of the portraits.
In the late 60s the art discourse in West Berlin was determined by the American Hard Edge-painting and ruled over Minimal Art and Pop Art. Simultaneously a controversy regarding political and social topics established itself concerning works by John Heartfield and George Segal. These two artistic trends are reflected in the exhibition: Peter Benkerts Luschen (Losers), portraying geometrically arranged color fields on lacquered press boards, and Bernd Damkes acrylic shapes on canvas, which stand in parallel dialogue to one another are confronted with Peter Sorges realistic paintings and Joachim Schmettaus figural gesso- and bronze sculptures. The critic realist Sorge, who later became acquainted for his drawings, uses motives and materials from magazines, newspapers and television as a template and recreates the picture context in his early works. Joachim Schmettau inserts real objects in his sculptures time after time.
Starting over is also a retrospect, which looks back on the early years of Gallery Poll. The gallery established itself in October 1968 with a solo exhibition by Peter Sorge. In 1969 solo exhibitions by Bernd Damke and Peter Benkert followed. Joachim Schmettau has been working with the gallery since 1972. Their artistic paths first crossed during the legendary exhibition collective Großgörschen 35 (1964-1969), with the exception of Schmettau. Gallery Poll has been keeping up the artistic traditions of the first cooperative gallery for many years.
Peter Benkert (born 1942), master pupil of Fred Thieler at the Academy of Arts in Berlin and member of the Berlin exhibition collective Großgörschen 35, depicts abstract geometric rows and rooms in his works, which are characterized by intensive and diverse colorfulness. Simultaneously he develops dynamic and unrealistic room constructions without horizon and so called orbiters – floating, multi-perspectival, stereometrical figures, which defy the rules of gravity.
Bernd Damke (born 1939) studied painting from 1959 to 1963 under Fred Thieler and Mac Zimmermann at the Academy of Visual Arts in Berlin. He conducted SYSTEM DESIGN, a group in charge of the planning of visual guidance systems, from 1969 until 1973. From 1972 until 2004 Damke taught as a professor in the department of Design at the College in Münster. His travels brought him to India, Burma, China, Japan, as well as multiple visits to Egypt, where he obtained a guest professorship from 1979 until 2008.
Joachim Schmettau (born 1937) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Berlin from 1956 until 1960 and acquired his degree as a master pupil of professor Ludwig Gabriel Schrieber. Schmettau is one of the founding members of the group Aspekt, which existed from 1972 until 1978. Bettina von Arnim, Ulrich Baehr, Hans-Jürgen Diehl, Maina-Miriam Munsky, Wolfgang Petrick, Peter Sorge, Klaus Vogelgesang and Jürgen Waller, are all members of the group among some others. From 1971 until 2002, Schmettau obtained a professorship at the today’s University of Arts in Berlin.
Peter Sorge (born 1937-2000) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Berlin from 1958 until 1965 under Fred Thieler and Mac Zimmermann. He was a founding member of the cooperative gallery Großgörschen 35, as well as the group Aspekt. His drastic picture content – quotes from newspapers, porn- and sport magazines – made him a protagonist for the critical realists, an artistic direction from Berlin, which distinguished itself in the 60s and 70s through its reaction to current events.
Erhard Wehrmann (1930-2004) was autodidact as a photographer. In 1955 he began taking pictures of sculptures on vacation trips to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm, in classic black and white manner. Since 1959 he portrayed numerous artists, especially sculptors, on the first documenta-exhibitions, as well as the Venice Biennale. In 1960/61 he worked for the Feuilleton of the Westphalian review. From 1961 until 1993 Wehrmann worked in the advertising and public relations field as a Publicity Manager for the Hansa-brewery, Graetz Bayer, Imperial, Hitachi and Mitsubishi. His friendship with Peter Sorge and Maina-Miriam Munsky allowed him to accompany the artists with his camera up until their death. All in all he portrayed over three hundred artists together with their works.
Vernissage: Friday, 19th Februar 2016, 06:00 – 09:00 p.m.
Exhibition period: Saturday, 20th February to Saturday, 16th April 2016Zur Galerie Poll
Image caption: Erhard Wehrmann, Bernd Damke, 1967, s/w-Fotografie
Alles auf Anfang Exhibition – Galerie Poll – Kunst in Berlin ART at Berlin