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9.11.22 TO 12.2.23

K BARLOW 61433Alexandra Bircken, Trolley II, 2016, Stahl, Holz, Bronze, Haar, 260 x 380,4 x 150,4 cm, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Ankauf mit Mitteln vom Land Niedersachsen; Foto: Herling / Herling / Werner, Sprengel Museum Hannover

With BODY IN SOCIETY, the Sprengel Museum Hannover presents an exhibition that focuses on the human body in society. A dozen works from the 1970s to today, including works by Alexandra Bircken, Jürgen Klauke, and Boris Mikhailov, negotiate the body and corporeality in different ways in various media: in photography, sculpture, and painting.

No question, bodies are not merely mass or pure organism. Bodies have always been politically and socially charged means of projection and communication of any society. From representations in Greek antiquity to the flood of images on Instagram, TikTok and Co. - images and ideals of the body were and are omnipresent. In art, too, the body is the measure of many things, a reference and starting point and inspiration for artists. Art cannot exist detached from the body. BODY IN SOCIETY shows artistic positions in which the body is at the center of the discussion.

"How the human body is influenced by society - hardly anything is discussed more than the appearance of the counterpart. The artistic claim to break conventions and show power behavior has occupied me just as much as a free approach to the human body. An important role in the selection of works was played not only by how individuals are portrayed, but also by scenes of everyday life and the complete dissolution of the body," says Julius Osman, curator of the exhibition.


Body images in art can be provocative commentaries on conservative sexual morality, as is the case in the works of Jürgen Klauke and Salomé. Moreover, both take the body and its artistic transformation as an occasion to deconstruct social and cultural-political phenomena of the 1970s by presenting bodies that are inherent to multiple identities and genders.

In the same decade, Bernhard Schultze also refers to the human body in the creation of his Migofs, - creatures between human, animal and plant - and fuses mannequins with elements of nature in a surrealist style. Boundaries of the body expand and blur with its surroundings. The artist Alexandra Bircken, on the other hand, directs attention to the body as a projection surface for the expectations of others: her bronze sculpture, which can be read as a female torso and is inspired by Japanese sex toys, reflects the 'male gaze'. The recipient's focus is drawn to the vulva and vagina, which are represented by a round opening and a bow draped over it.

Boris Mikhailov's interest in depicting people in everyday scenes is evident in his photographs. He portrays people in places in Berlin where they meet - in the crowds of the big city or sitting on a bench - or that reveal how heterogeneous society is.

Only the body size remains the reference to reality when Rüdiger Stanko's 'portraits' hang next to each other: The works are 1.78 meters, 1.69 meters and 1.81 meters high and thus correspond to the dimensions of the person portrayed in each case. Apart from their size, the body is not further examined. That a supposedly small change in one's own body size not only influences one's perspective on oneself and others, but also on the body representations within the exhibition BODY IN SOCIETY, is something visitors* can experience when they put on one of Hans Hemmert's 60 pairs of platform shoes to reach the artist's desired body size of two meters. What happens when we all meet at eye level?

Curator: Julius Osman


9.11.22 TO 8.1.23

K BARLOW 61433Philip Cheung: Days of Destruction (2022) 1. Preis Beste Fotoserie 2022

The VONOVIA AWARD FOR PHOTOGRAPHY motivates a diverse and critical examination of social, economic and societal issues of today's life with the theme HOME. The award honors outstanding image series in terms of form and content. The award, which has been in existence since 2017, carries prize money of 42,000 euros and is presented annually. The shortlist and the award winners are selected by a jury of experts.

With the four winners of the 2022 award and 29 artists from the shortlist, the exhibition ZUHAUSE NO.6 presents 33 different photographic positions on the theme of "home": depictions of loss, destruction, strangeness and threat are as much a part of the show's repertoire as intimate and hopeful insights. The photographers address migration, flight, displacement, Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, environmental and climate change, racism and gender issues. The meaning of motherhood and security, the search for traces or the loss of family can also be found in their works.

For the first time in the history of the award, three of the four prize winners deal with the topic of home from a non-European perspective: Philip Cheung wins first prize in the category Best Photo Series with "Days of Destruction", David Klammer second prize with "The Line // What Remained of the Water" and Takako Kido third prize with "Skinship". Francesca Hummler is this year's Newcomer Award winner with the photo series "Unsere Puppenstube".

Philip Cheung (USA) spent over two months in Ukraine documenting the situation of communities on the front lines of war. His twelve images vividly depict the destruction, the loss of home, but also the resilience of individuals, families and communities. The work of David Klammer (Germany) reveals flood lines and marks on interior walls of homes that the 2021 flood of the century on the Ahr River made visible after the water levels had passed. His series "The Line" documents in its black and white two-dimensionality imprints that hint at personal fates and remind us of the fates of those affected. Skinship - the term stands for the special relationship between a mother and her child. For Takako Kido (Japan), the thought behind it was quite natural. It was only when she was arrested in New York for her photos that she realized how unique and shocking it can be in other cultural contexts. Francesca Hummler's series "Our Dollhouse" addresses dismissive and racist reactions experienced by the photographer's parents in response to the adoption of her sister from Ethiopia.

Journalistic, documentary, staged, conceptual, and experimental series address current social issues, take personal perspectives, and interpret the theme of "home" in many different ways.

The call for entries for the seventh year of the VONOVIA AWARD FOR PHOTOGRAPHY will be issued in spring 2023.

Curator: Reinhard Spieler


9.11.22 TO 8.1.23

K BARLOW 61433Peter Lang, Sker, 2022; Foto: Herling / Herling / Werner, Sprengel Museum Hannover

The work of Peter Lang (born 1965, lives and works in Gleißenberg) focuses on the original landscape, largely untouched by civilization, which he interprets in painting, drawing and graphic print. In the past, Lang has traveled to areas in Chile, Iceland, and the Alps in a specially designed studio container in order to let the play of colors in nature have an effect on him. The rugged coast of Iceland inspired the artist's drawings, which served as a template for the 3D printing (FIT AG) of the sculpture SKER.

In collaboration with the high-tech company Additive Tectonics, a leader in 3D printing for architecture and art, Peter Lang developed a manufacturing process for a robot. Lang used VR glasses to draw floor plans or sections of the sculpture in virtual space. These drawings served as a template for the robot, which printed the ground plan lines layer by layer using liquefied wood granulate enriched with color pigments. SKER was created in the front hall of the Sprengel Museum Hannover over a period of seven weeks. The printing distance was around 230 kilometers.

The sculpture – two meters high, weighing around three and a half tons and with a circumference of 23 meters – has returned to its place of origin after making a stop at the Niedersächsische Landesvertretung in Berlin, among other places.

KURATOR / CURATOR: Reinhard Spieler





15.10.22 TO 19.3.23

K BARLOW 61433Phyllida Barlow, BREACH © Phyllida Barlow, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth; Foto: Herling/Herling/Werner, Sprengel Museum Hannover

‘What modern art means is that you have to keep finding new ways to express yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach. This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation of having no absolutely definite way of expressing yourself.’                                                         

---Louise Bourgeois


Phyllida Barlow has always been more concerned with producing things than with displaying them. This is also because it was only quite late that her oeuvre found its way to the frontmost row of attentiveness on the part of the art world. In retrospect, this seems to have given her a freedom which has been maintained in her work right down to the present. Even today, her space-encompassing installations continue to evince the spontaneity of the early installations, with their acts of stacking and layering in gardens and back courtyards, or their inclusion of objects which appear like household companions, then disappear after having been used – on the ironing board, atop the television set, in corridors, and on shelves. Above all during the 1980s, when her five children were a determining and limiting factor in her working rhythm, she developed peculiarities which continue to characterise her production. For example, there were the Nightworks, which Barlow crafted in the dark during hours of nocturnal freedom. The sense of touch, unaided by vision, enhanced the haptic impression and gave predominance to the artist’s feeling her way and trusting her intuition in the process of creation. These experiences likewise gave rise to the Touchpieces, in which the haptic element was of decisive importance in determining their appearance. Today this palpability still remains an important aspect of her sculptural activity. At the same time, it becomes apparent how Barlow is capable of dealing productively with given situations. She follows her own imperatives and impulses; through her protracted and extensive teaching activity, she does not feel obliged to succeed in the art market. This continues to mean less concentration on a finished product than on the production itself, an emphasis on what always remains a provisional form which can be discovered by this ongoing activity.


Barlow considers one of the most impactful aesthetic moments of her life to have occurred when her father drove her and her sister through London’s East End in the postwar period. Because of the docks of the nearby harbour, this section of the city had been the most severely damaged by the German aerial bombardments. Even today the cityscape of London – the interplay between people and things, what the individual encounters each day with regard to buildings, materials, accesses and barriers – continues to serve Barlow as an important reservoir of ideas. Today it is possible to observe the large construction sites in the city centre and the various booming districts of London, marked as they are by massive movements of material and by insights into building elements which otherwise remain hidden. Their fragments – parts such as stairs, platforms, heaps, stacks and piles as well as random or disrupted connections – can be found in Barlow’s installations. As variation and divergence, the amassing and duplicating of elements presents constantly new stimulations to perception and offers an impressive abundance in both formal and material terms. A tentativeness is evident in the loose structure of connections, in rapid applications of paint, and in the shifting, falling or upsurging movements of the materials. Weights and forces are presented and frequently pursued ad absurdum to the point of comicality, inasmuch as large forms suspended like wrecking balls present themselves as mock-ups while structures resembling houses are turned upside-down.


It is a remarkable coincidence that, because of fire precautions at the Sprengel Museum Hannover, the set-up of BREACH is taking place at the same time as the rebuilding of the reconstruction of Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau on the basement floor. The reconstruction is based on three photographs from 1933 and thus serves as a snapshot of the condition of one central part of the Merzbau, which was actually in a state of perpetual transformation. The involvement with Barlow causes this construction site – with its reverse sides and the fragmentations and repairs caused by its being repeatedly set up and taken down – to now appear in a different light. Plaster, wood and paint are the simple materials which both artists utilise and translate from daily life into something different. But the external view of the physical appearance causes the constructed nature of this backdrop of a once enlivened space to come all the more vividly to the fore. Through the destruction of the model construction and the death of its author, the Merzbau is now much more a mock-up and an exhibition piece than the anarchical installation which was once so lively.


As this text is being written, Barlow’s installation is in the process of being set up; after the exhibition, it will disappear once again. The liveliness arising out of this situation continues in Barlow’s improvised, rough constructions which often seem absurdly paradoxical in their sculptural behaviour. The preceding drawings, one of which may be seen on the reverse side, are described by the artist as a sort of detour. Detached and seemingly weightless, the construction can be set in painting onto a monochrome surface. At the same time, it mirrors important aspects of the developing work. The stage-like nature, contradictory and oppositional aspects such as the reversed stairs and the interlocked, barricading elements give rise to an active, restless situation. In reality, they have a massive weight and often contain a ridiculous pathos through their oversized dimensions and apparent disregard for a classical, sculptural ethos. Not smoothed but instead ponderously and roughly conjoined, painted with conspicuously friendly, even kitschy colours, the confusingly complex, space-encompassing constructions develop a physical presence and engage in a confrontation which is of essential importance at the site. Barlow’s works change the manner in which we behave physically in response to spaces; they bring the presence of material into close proximity to us in an uncustomary manner.


When Phyllida Barlow saw the large exhibition hall at the Sprengel Museum Hannover for the first time, she was fascinated by its long extension and the manner in which the space corresponded to a clear, white cube. There immediately arose the idea of a diagonal line which was intended to visibly enhance the extended dimensions of the space and to highlight its dynamism. The title ‘Breach’ emphasises the transgression, the piercing of the space; in English, the word is mostly used to indicate the overstepping of rules. Bresche in German and brèche in French also refer to the capturing of fortifications by breaking through a wall and opening it for the troops thereupon rushing forward. This military term, which almost sounds like an avant-gardist metaphor, conveys the forced materiality and dynamism of the massive structures just as it seems as a sound to evoke hardness and pathos. The rupturing of both space and conventions is a challenge which the artist constantly imposes on herself as well. What Barlow herself often describes as an adventure is a procedure in which the outcome is unknown and – out of the behaviour of the materials and the reaction to them, through various emotional states as well as through physical necessities such as stability and instability – an ongoing process of materialisation itself becomes the subject of investigation. This restlessness, the abundance of physical impressions and the uncontrollable scale of the installation provoke reaction and movement. Ideally, BREACH will not fill us with contentment but instead will leave us pensive an perplexed.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung.


17.8.22 TO 8.1.23

Dirk Dietrich Hennig, Project: Carl Gerhardt Rudolf *1922-2012 (2016 -), Carl Gerhardt Rudolf at work in a secret studio of the department MoK (MoK [Modern Art] was a sub-department of KoKo [Commercial Communication] in the GDR) in 1973 / 2016 Technique: chromogenic vintage print Dimensions: 10x15 cm

Between 1967 and 1989, various artists in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) forged modernist works under government coercion for the purpose of obtaining foreign currency. One of them was Carl Gerhardt Rudolf (1922 to 2012) - historian, autodidact and appropriated by the regime - whose fate remained hidden for a long time. The exhibition, which opens on the occasion of the publication of the 77th volume of the series "Contemporary Art from Niedersachsen" published by the Foundation Niedersachsen, provides insight into Rudolf's life and work.

In 1973, the Kunst und Antiquitäten GmbH (K&A until 1989), which belonged to the Commercial Coordination Division (KoKo) in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, was set up in the GDR specifically for the sale of works of art and cultural objects abroad and to generate foreign currency.

For the systematic acquisition of the works, works of art dealers and private collectors were expropriated - by means of constructed criminal tax proceedings - as well as antiquities and works were removed from the state collection of public museums.

The Ministry of Culture demanded the release of works for international export in order to generate the previously budgeted millions. The idea generator and organiser of KoKo / K&A was Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski, State Secretary in the GDR Ministry for Foreign Trade and at the same time Colonel of the Ministry for State Security (MfS).

The purchase and sales lists of Kunst und Antiquitäten GmbH have been in the Federal Archives for Stasi Documents (BStU) in Berlin since spring 2015 and are being systematically analysed. In the course of the evaluation, the previously unknown department "Commercial Coordination: Modern Art (MoK)" was discovered. The department, consisting of a group of talented artists, including the self-taught Rudolf, involuntarily forged works of art on behalf of the MoK for the purpose of obtaining foreign currency. A common working practice was the expansion of an existing oeuvre. The compartmentalised department served various sectors of the art market and produced works that were sold through Swiss galleries to other European countries.

Carl Gerhardt Rudolf had been an unofficial employee of the MfS under the code name "Rembrandt" since the mid-1960s.

Officially, he was employed at the College of the Ministry for State Security in Potsdam. Before that, Rudolf worked as a historian at the Institute for History of the German Academy of Sciences in East Berlin. His theoretical writings, dedicated to the examination of the phenomenon of the aura of a work of art according to Walter Benjamin, were juxtaposed with reproductions of modernist works made by his own hand. Likewise, it was possible for Rudolf to test his thesis of the "projected aura".

"If the aura is not immanent in the work of art but is projected into it by the viewer, then the work of art is a projection surface for the need for meaningfulness and contemplation. In this encounter between the viewer and the work of art, a vacuum is filled that remained as a remnant of society's religious need after the Enlightenment," Rudolf wrote in 1965.

After German reunification in 1990, Rudolf lived in Venice until his death in 2012. It cannot be ruled out that he earned his living by selling forged works. His case came to public attention after his nephew offered an auction house a supposed work by Piet Mondrian from the estate of the Rudolf Collection. The work was rejected on suspicion of forgery.

Due to the poor state of the files - the mass destruction of files in the Ministry for State Security (MfS) around 1989 and the lengthy reconstruction of destroyed documents - it is unlikely that a list of the works produced by the MoK and in particular by Carl Gerhardt Rudolf can ever be sufficiently reconstructed.

The exhibition brings together undated works from Rudolf's estate. Among them are forgeries and imitations of existing works by important artists, as well as works developed in the manner of artists of classical modernism and art after 1945.


Carl Gerhardt Rudolf is a fictional art figure. The events of his life and the exhibited artefacts as well as the MoK subsection are also fictitious. Any resemblance to living or deceased persons and their actions is purely coincidental. However, there is a resemblance to the artist Dirk Dietrich Hennig, who invented Rudolf and embodies him. The historical framework of the exhibition with references to KoKo, Schalck-Golodkowski as well as the Federal Ministry for Stasi Documents is real. The artist Dirk Dietrich Hennig (*1967) has been working with historical interventions for over 20 years. This art form, which uses the embedding of fictional art figures in a real historical context, disguises fact and fiction, questions practices of established value standards and expectations of the exhibition business and asks how history is reconstructed. In this context, however, the question arises as to whether such a free, innovative, norm-breaking approach to history could possibly mean a dangerous nihilism and a rejection of all historical truth, which would have to be resisted in time," wrote Boris Groys 1997. (…) The body of the story suffers from this - and it is precisely through this that it shows itself to be alive."[1] 

The exhibition is sponsored by and takes place in cooperation with the Foundation Niedersachsen.


20.7.22 TO 8.1.23

buntes Bild gemalt von Michel MajerusMichel Majerus (*1967 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxemburg - 2002 in Niederanven, Luxemburg), Massnahmen..., 1994 Acryl auf Baumwolle, 2-tlg, gesamt 303 x 476 cm, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Leihgabe aus Privatbesitz

In his short lifetime – he died in an airplane accident at the age of only 35 – Michel Majerus (1967 to 2002) created one of the most picturesque works of the 1990s. Majerus combines in his paintings elements of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. With playful ease, company logos, national flags, graphic elements from computer games, comic figures, street art offsets and other pictorial elements from a wide variety of sources in art, advertising and everyday life join in.

Michel Majerus thus creates a stream of images that is as light-footed as it is dense, which, like hardly an other, captures the attitude of a youth culture that was bursting into life at the turn of the millennium after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Sprengel Museum Hannover is one of 13 museums in Germany that are presenting their entire holdings on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Michel Majerus’ death. All presentations will be documented in a joint publication. Solo exhibitions at Kunstwerke Berlin / KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Hamburger Kunstverein and Galerie Neugerriemschneider in Berlin, which represents his work and looks after his estate, complement this project to create the most comprehensive presentation of Michel Majerus’ work to date.



20.7.22 TO 8.1.23

Fotografie zwei junge Männer aneinandergelehnt am Tisch sitzendJulia Autz, While I was waiting, 2017 / 19

What does „home“ mean to us in times of globalization and digitalization? Where and how do we experience the feeling of home? In our body? In certain clothes? In a particular landscape or cultural-geographical settings? In social ties? With familiar and beloved objects? We often experience the feeling of home particularly intensely ex negativo - when everything familiar and obvious is missing, when everything around us seems foreign.

Since the beginning the theme of the VONOVIA AWARD FÜR FOTOGRAFIE has been HOME - a broad topic affecting each and every one of us, and entailing many associations and experiences. The submitted works illustrate the diversity of these experiences associated with our feeling of home. They reflect the close relationships to our home as well as the painful alienation from this home. The reasons are numerous: leaving the parental home, moving to a new place, but also forced migration, displacement, the loss of home through war and violence.

In 2021 the award was issued for the fifth time. In the past five years certain focal points have emerged as a result of current events without limiting creativity and diversity. While migration and displacement featured in the first years, the Covid pandemic presented a whole new perspective on our homes. For the last two years our home has been shelter and a safe haven on the one hand, but at the same time confinement and social isolation on the other. Therefore many works show the conflicting feelings about our home.

For the first time in 2021 all four prizes were awarded to female artists. The exhibition of these prize winners and shortlisted participants will be extended in October with the four prize winners of the VONOVIA AWARD FÜR FOTOGRAFIE 2022.


13.4.19 TO 25.2.24

E4 DSC3256

The exhibition ELEMENTARY PARTS poses simple and obvious questions about art that nevertheless prove to be absolutely fundamental: What is art? What are works of art actually made of, which materials are used? Which formal languages do they employ? Which reality (or realities) do they refer to between the figurative, the abstract and the virtual? What is art about, what kind of narratives does it tell, and how does it reflect history? In nine themed rooms, the exhibition unfolds an impressive spectrum of the fundamental possibilities of the material, formal and expressive languages of art and its levels of meaning.

The main topics are colour, material, form/shape, realities, history/narratives, natural and human shaped spaces, strong emotions and finally faces, which ultimately reflect our image of human kind. The exhibition brings together a total of more than 150 works from painting, sculpture, drawing, graphic art and film/video (installation) – all part of the Sprengel Museum Hannover’s collection or on permanent loan. They cover a period stretching from the dawn of Modern Art at the beginning of the 20th century to the immediate present. The selection ranges from Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger and Paul Klee via Louise Bourgeois, Sean Scully, Timm Ulrichs, Niki de Saint Phalle and Gerhard Richter to Marlene Dumas, Andrea Fraser, Bruce Nauman, Julian Charrière, Julius von Bismarck, Christoph Girardet and Julia Schmid.

At the beginning of the exhibition, a further room is dedicated to the Sprengel Museum Hannover itself, thematising the basic elements that make up the institution: What is the legal basis for relations between the museum and its sponsors, donors, (permanent) lenders and partners? What collections does it consist of? What departments are there and what are they each responsible for?

With ELEMENTARY PARTS, the Sprengel Museum Hannover is celebrating both the 50th anniversary of the donation of Bernhard and Margrit Sprengel and the 40th year of the museum’s existence.

Unfortunately, the entire basement (Kosmos Schwitters incl. Merzbau and Kabinett der Abstrakten, Grafik, Sprengel Foto, Sprengel Focus, Museumsplatz) is not accessible until further notice due to fire protection renovation measures.

 Welcome to the Sprengel Museum Hannover

The Sprengel Museum Hannover with its comprehensive permanent collection and diverse temporary exhibitions ranks among the most important museums of 20th and 21st century art.

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Sprengel Museum Hannover
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The MERZ bookshop offers an extensive range of specialist books and magazines from the fields of art, photography, architecture and design as well as children's books, antiquarian books, non-book articles and a large selection of high-quality art prints and art postcards.



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For over 20 years the restaurant bell´ARTE with its young fresh kitchen with Italian accent offers the perfect culinary addition to the museum visit. The restaurant has over 80 restaurant seats as well as 30 winter garden seats with the best view of the Maschsee. On sunny days the large terrace with 140 seats invites you to enjoy the sun into the evening hours.

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