Symposium, Digital

Expressionism Revisited
Panel IV: Schlüsselwerke neu gesehen (DE & EN)

The panel is devoted to a reevaluation of key works of Expressionism. Building upon the multifaceted interpretive possibilities of an autonomous art movement beyond naturalism, selected works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Erich Heckel are reexamined from an interdisciplinary perspective, opening them up to current arenas of discourse. The individual contributions are guided by the concept of artistic transgression, to which the members of the Brücke were committed in terms of blurring the boundaries between artistic genres. Through the dialogue of panel paintings and murals, serial graphics and poetry, painting, dance, gesture, and performance, the creative processes that serve as a timeless affirmation to keep Expressionism alive to this day will be unveiled.

Host: Dr. Meike Hoffmann (Freie Universität Berlin)

Dr. Meike Hoffmann is a lecturer in the field of Expressionism, Nazi art politics, and memorial culture at the Freie Universität Berlin. At the Department of Art History, she is the head of the following provenance research projects: Research Center “Entartete Kunst,“ Mosse Art Research Initiative (MARI), Abraham Adelsberger Art Research Project (AAARP). Her recent publications include: Meike Hoffmann / Dieter Scholz (eds.): Unmastered Past? Modernism in Nazi Germany. Art, Art Trade, Curatorial Practice, Berlin 2020; Meike Hoffmann and Aya Soika: Escape into Art? The Brücke Painters in the Nazi period, Munich 2019.


Dr. Julia Cloot (Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain): Künstlerfiguren bei Jean Paul und Erich Heckel – Musik, Literatur, Malerei (DE)

In the literature of the 1800s, the description of actually resounding or imagined music serves as a means to mark heightened moments in the text. Delimitation is achieved through expansive conditional clauses or the paratactic concatenation of main clauses. Moreover, Jean Paul (1763–1825) introduces artist figures in his novels, such as the flutist Vult in the novel Flegeljahre or the Don Juanesque player Roquairol in the novel Titan. The latter served as a subject for several works by Erich Heckel titled Roquairol: a painting, a woodcut (both from 1917), and two ink drawings (1918) – these works evoke associations with his artist friend Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The presemtation will trace the manifold connections within the realm of literature, music, and visual arts.

Julia Cloot, a music and literary scholar, served as Chief Dramaturge at Theater Görlitz in Berlin after completing her doctorate in 1999. From 2001, she worked as a Foundation Officer in Hannover. Between 2005 and 2013, she directed the Institute for Contemporary Music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt, as well as the Off-Program of the Donaueschingen Music Days from 2006 to 2013. Since October 2013, she has been a curator and procurator at the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain. From 2011 to 2021, she was the President of the German Society for New Music, and since 2016, she has been a board member of the Music Fund of the Federal Government. She serves as a juror for various institutions.


Joseph Henry (CUNY Graduate Center / Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellow, Metropolitan Museum of Art): Erich Heckel’s Die Ballade vom Zuchthaus zu Reading and the Politics of the Natural (EN)

This paper explores a 1907 print portfolio by Erich Heckel based on Oscar Wilde’s 189798 poem The Ballad of Reading Goal. If Wilde’s poem addressed his own experiences in prison following convictions of “gross indecency” with men, how did Heckel’s woodcut prints illustrate connections between timber matrix and carceral architecture, between print’s most “natural” technique and the “unnaturalness” of homosexual desire in both Victorian England and Wilhelmine Germany? Could Heckel’s portfolio present, this paper asks, an early modernist instance of queer ecological critique?

Joseph Henry is a PhD candidate at the City University of New York and a Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His dissertation Spiritualized Machines: Die Brücke, Expressionism, and Wilhelmine Modernity explores a nascent industrial aesthetic within Die Brücke’s otherwise primitivizing techniques, motifs and theories. He has received funding from institutions such as the DAAD, through which he was a researcher at the Brücke-Museum from 2019 to 2020. He has published articles in Artforum and Art in America and has an upcoming article in Oxford Art Journal on the reception of Vladimir Tatlin in Berlin Dada.


PD Dr. Thomas Röske (Sammlung Prinzhorn, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg): E.L. Kirchner, Alpsonntag. Mit erzählendem Alten – Deutung und Datierung (DE)

One of Kirchner’s largest canvas paintings is also one of the most well-known, as it frequently appears in the media. However, the four-meter-wide painting Alpsonntag. Mit erzählendem Alten has received little detailed examination thus far, as it has been rarely displayed in exhibitions. As a result, a coherent interpretation of the painting (as well as its counterpart in the Kunstmuseum Bern) is still lacking. Additionally, the documented dating requires correction, as evidenced by sketches and letters.

PD Dr. Thomas Röske has been the director of the Prinzhorn Collection at Heidelberg University Hospital since November 2002. He studied art history, musicology, and psychology in Hamburg and obtained his doctorate in 1991. From 1993 to 1999, he worked as a scientific assistant at the Art History Institute of the University of Frankfurt. In addition, he has worked as a freelance exhibition curator for various institutions. Since April 2012, Röske has been the president of the European Outsider Art Association (EOA). In 2015, he completed his habilitation at the University of Frankfurt am Main.


Marietta Piekenbrock (Kuratorin, Autorin, Kulturmanagerin, Berlin): Der fremde Tanz. Für eine neue Ethik der Aneignung (DE)

The modern era would be inconceivable without the interplay of appropriation, a global groove of art, dance, and performance. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was already enthusiastic about non-European cultures and dance early on. It is precisely here that the cultural production of his avant-garde takes its starting point: in an ethic that consciously employs its own artifice.

Marietta Piekenbrock is an author, curator, and cultural manager. After working in Aix-en-Provence, Munich, Paris, and the Ruhr area, she now lives in Berlin. She was part of the management team of the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010, served as the Head Dramaturg of the Ruhrtriennale and worked as the Program Director of the Volksbühne Berlin. She curated the exhibition Global Groove at the Museum Folkwang. Starting in 2024, she will be the Artistic Director responsible for the establishment and program of the Summer Academy Zollverein in Essen. She has published numerous books and essays on international developments in art and culture.

This is a closed event with a limited number of participants. The event will be digitally broadcast live.
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