Sturtevant & Tina Braegger
Curiosity Killed the Cat
November 28, 2021 – March 12, 2022
‘We are not going to need clones,
because we all are going to be clones.
The beasts are fine, I saw two of them earlier,
jumping around in the back garden of the studio.
In 1979 the American musician, Iggy Pop, released his album New Values including the song Curiosity in which the singer famously used the line “Curiosity Killed the Cat”. Based on the idiom that is usually a warning to either not ask any more questions, or to stop trying new things, it is often used to discourage someone from doing something. Mostly to discourage a line of questioning. Curiosity and repetition may appear as a connection between two artists from different generations and backgrounds. This thoughtfully put together presentation explores the idea of originality and repetition as well as transformation and representation in our image culture. This exhibition is advised to be seen more as a coupling than a marriage.
For Sturtevant (1924-2014) recreating iconic artworks by her favorite artists of her time, was an observation of new situations in the art world she was curious about. Since the sixties she has been reinventing artworks of very close contemporary American artists such as Andy Warhol’s Flowers and Marilyns as well as Jasper John’s Flag. Over the course of her long outstanding career, Sturtevant lived in New York and Paris, where she spent most of her time creating work spanning from painting, photography, installation, film and video focusing on authenticity and originality in a world of increasing influence through mass media. Based on her rigorous and unwavered conceptual thoughts, Sturtevant developed the most radical œuvre of her time that even today has the powerful influence on a new generation: killing expectations about the representation of art to access space for new thinking.
Tina Braegger (1985) creates mainly large-scale paintings of the iconic Grateful Dead bear. The Grateful Dead bear, colorful and psychedelic, is the unofficial logo of the Grateful Dead, an eclectic rock band of the 60‘s formed in the bay area of San Francisco. By accident, a bug appeared in her photoshop, which has changed this bear to a motif Braeggerhas been working with. Since then, she explores the image of the bear as a reference system through every medium: she has blown it up, warped, distorted, pixelated, fragmented, deconstructed, cut up and reassembled the motif in countless variations, using it like a modular kit or a framing device, a structuring logic to follow the same set of rules over and over again. Braegger has been admiring Sturtevant’s conceptual attitude towards art. Both of the artists started to look at an existing image and reinvented it new. The parallel connection between these two artists is the reproductive method and the ongoing curiosity to continue against all odds. Tina Braegger as well as Sturtevant explore the relationship between original and originality in order to kill all rules in arts but never curiosity. Where does it all lead?
A catalogue of the exhibition will be published.
Elaine Sturtevant was born in 1924 in Lakewood, Ohio. The first years of her artistic life in NY were marked by the use of reproductions of recreations of her contemporaries which she did for the first time in 1964. In 1990, she moved to Paris, where she lived and worked until her death in 2014. Her pioneering work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including at Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Serpentine Galleries in London, Kunsthalle in Zürich, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris. She was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.
Tina Braegger was born in 1985 in Lucerne, Switzerland, lives and works in Berlin and Zurich. Her work has been featured in Kunsthalle Bern, The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, Friends Indeed Gallery in San Francisco, Société Gallery in Berlin, Luma Foundation Westbau in Zurich and the Meredith Rosen Gallery in New York. Udo Kittelmann, who is the curator of this exhibition, worked with Sturtevant while being director at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, (MMK) in Frankfurt in 2004. Then Kittelmann removed the permanent collection, turning over the entire museum to Sturtevant body of works. Now, Kittelmann couples Sturtevant and Braegger for the first time for his exhibition at De 11 Lijnen bringing to the fore both artists philosophical implications and explorations of our pop culture.
Udo Kittelmann is an international curator, from 2008 until 2020 he was the museum director among them at the Alte Nationalgalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin and since 2021 he is the artistic director at the Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden. Furthermore, he has produced multiple exhibitions at the Prada Foundation in Milan, Shanghai and Venice, as well as at Centro Botín in Santander and Fondation Beyeler in Basel. Kittelmann was commissioner and curator of the German Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale and was awarded a Golden Lion for best international pavilion. He also curated the Russian pavilion at the 55th Venice Art Biennale, making him the pavilion’s first non-Russian commissioner.