The Falckenberg Collection, built around the concept of art as a space of revolt, assembles one of the most salient historical ensembles of art criticism in post-war Germany and America. In the face of complacency over the market and its logics, this collection represents a counter-current to ways of understanding the role of and narratives that stem from collecting.
This lecture presents both the Falckenberg Collection, based in Hamburg and made up of nearly 2,000 works, and the project it represents. After coming into being in 1994, it sets out from the scepticism and scorn that would brand a young local art scene at the beginning of the 1970s, a scene which stood somewhere between influences from punk attitudes, the crisis of modernity and the discredit of a society dominated by the neo-conservative turn. This formed the backdrop that prompted Martin Kippenberger, one of its most celebrated figures, to describe it with the expression born stupid, learned nothing, died stupid. The core part of the Collection, comprising pieces by Albert Oehlen, Sigmar Polke, Dieter Roth, Werner Büttner and Georg Herold, is complemented with works by American predecessors and contemporaries such as Paul Thek, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon and General Idea, to name but a few. As a whole, stretching back to Neo-Dada at the end of the 1950s before arriving at recent installation art, the Falckenberg Collection places the artist in the middle of an imaginary of fissures and social change, inseparably conveying the successive critical responses to reality from contemporary artistic production. The Collection, also at the centre of an ambitious programme of temporary exhibitions, has been on display in the Deichtorhallen Hamburg art centre since 2001.
Harald Falckenberg (Germany, 1943) is an industrial entrepreneur and Doctor of Law. He is considered one of the most influential international collectors, despite his activities openly challenging the relationship between art, the market and speculation. He has also received the patronage awards Art Cologne (2009) and Montblanc (2011) and is chairman of Kunstverein, Hamburg, and a professor of Art Theory at Hamburg’s Academy of Fine Arts. Furthermore, his ideas on the art system have featured in publications like Texte zur Kunst, Frieze and Artforum and has collaborated with the Museo Reina Sofia in the exhibitions Paul Thek (2009), ATLAS, How to carry the world on one's back? (2010-2011) and The order of time and things. The home studio of Hanne Darboven (2014).
Presented and moderated by: Manuel Borja-Villel, Director del Museo Reina Sofía.