Two Artist Biographies

Interventions: Lotte Lindner & Till Steinbrenner

Christian Rohlfs (1849–1938) and Emil Nolde (1867–1956) have a lot in common. Both were North Frisians. Both their artistic careers coincided with the great aesthetic innovations during the transition from the 19th to the 20th century. They broke away from academic conventions with their works, conveying openness and a desire to experiment. As pronounced loners, they developed modern forms of expression and were among the most important representatives of Expressionism. Both loved working on paper and were masters in the use of watercolours. Both knew and appreciated each other. However, juxtaposing Nolde and Rohlfs also reveals an essential difference: While both were defamed as “degenerate” in the so-called “Third Reich,” Nolde was an ardent supporter of National Socialism and hoped to be officially recognized with his art. Cleaning up his biography after the end of the war, he was considered one of the regime’s victims like many of his fellow artists for a long time. How can one put the person and the work in relation? How can we judge art and artists with our historical knowledge? The exhibition, which was sourced from Kunsthalle Emden’s collection and is supplemented by outstanding loans, sets out with these questions and invites viewers to critically reflect their own point of view. In an attempt at a subjective and emotional approach, especially to the life and work of Nolde, artist duo Lotte Lindner & Till Steinbrenner has developed new work also on view here.

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