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The other side of the moon - female avant-garde artists of yesteryear, female art exhibition at K20

'The other side of the moon' exhibition centres on eight female artists, who played a pivotal part in the aesthetic reinvention of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s – hard to believe, but no less true.

Due to their unexpectedly high artistic skill, their irritatingly direct, almost 'non-female' approach to drawing in the viewer, they became part of the avant-garde network that was such an integral part of the art scene at the time. The women are Claude Cahun, Dora Maar, Sonia Delaunay, Florence Henri, Hannah Höch, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and the lesser known Katarzyna Kobro and Germaine Dulac, whose life and work can be discovered and explored through this exhibition for the first time. It is particularly of interest since they had almost become subject to oblivion in the past.

The total range of their artistic oeuvre includes a vast variety of aesthetic genres, from Dadaism to Constructivism to Surrealism. The artistic means are equally diverse: painting, photography, collage, film and sculpture.

'The other side of the moon' – that is, the side that nobody can see or dares to consider a thing of reality and tends to ignore – is dedicated to female key players of the avant-garde: artists who took part in the movement from very early on and therefore contributed their share towards the foundation and distribution of a new genre.

Sophie Taeuber-Arb (1889-1943) is a shining example of this very group of courageous pioneers. Her comprehensive work, which combines dadaism with geometrically abstract art and even touches on surrealism here and there, is considered the 'Combination-Creator' par excellence as far as Cercle et Carré and Abstraction-Création are concerned.

Apart from Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, she played a major part in the establishment of the art scene in Europe and is one of the earliest representatives and early networkers of avant-garde art. She was a cosmopolitan personality and employee of the French-American Plastique magazine.

This circle of influential and communicative artists also included Hanna Höch (1889-1978), whose collages were part of the foundation of Dadaism in Berlin, as well as Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979). Sonia paved the way for fine art in Paris and revolutionised the fashion industry with her own label.

Florence Henri (1893-1982) was an advocate for the 'Nouveau Vision' in France. Be it amongst the futurists in Rome, the Cubists in Paris or Bauhaus in Dessau – the happy traveller and multi-lingual Florence Herni could be found wherever the avant-garde made a pit stop. Works by Dora Maar (1907 – 1997) and Claude Cahun (1894-1954) are considered the most radical examples of early surrealism.

Almost all of the featured artists had been entertaining and nurturing close friendships with one another, others were acquainted through their respective works. The paths, connections, shifting loyalties and temporary relationships: the relevant European networks of, by and with these artists are the subjects of the exhibition and the goal is to share this as an experience for the audience through the approximately 230 works.

'It's a man's world.' Yes, it still is.

A GoSee music recommendation.

Künstlerinnen der Avantgarde
until 15.01.2012
K20 Grabbeplatz