Into the Third Dimension

Spatial Concepts on Paper from the Bauhaus to the Present

15 February to 14 May 2017

Where does drawing stop and when does sculpture begin?
The Städel Museum’s programme for 2017 kicked off with an exhibition looking at the representation of spatial concepts in drawing and printmaking. “Into the Third Dimension: Spatial Concepts on Paper from the Bauhaus to the Present” was shown in the Exhibition Hall of the museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings. The show examined how such things as delineation, form, and volume, ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ – characteristics that define space and aid orientation – are represented in drawing and printmaking, in essence on flat, two-dimensional surfaces. The exhibition took visitors on a tour beginning with the geometric compositions created in 1923 by El Lissitzky and László Moholy-Nagy, through to examples of printmaking in contemporary conceptual art.

It encompassed works by a total of 13 artists, including Lucio Fontana, Eduardo Chillida, Sol LeWitt, Blinky Palermo, James Turrell, and Michael Riedel. Lithographs depicting Constructivist perspectival representations were displayed alongside embossed prints that emerge out of two-dimensional flatness. Slits revealing imaginary spaces were juxtaposed with designs for wall pieces. Prints evoking three-dimensionality, created by figures of Minimal Art, space art, and light art, could be seen alongside chalk drawings, foldings, and collages by 20th century sculptors. The exhibition did not feature preliminary sketches or documents written in the wake of the artworks themselves. Rather, it featured independent works in which artists have executed their spatial concepts within the formal parameters of techniques employed in printmaking and drawing. The exhibition brought together important sheets from the Städel Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings, selected works from the Deutsche Bank Collection at the Städel Museum, long-term loans from the Commerzbank AG, and loans from a private collection.

CURATOR Jenny Graser (Städel Museum)

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