Take the S Bahn to Konstablerwache, stroll down Fahrgasse and down on to Berliner Strasse then take a right onto Dom Strasse … you have reached your destination . Frankfurt MMK , The Frankfurt Museum für Moderne Kunst . From the outside this building resembles in bricks and mortar a triangular three layered slice of post modernist cake filled with the spread of German Expressionism , Founded in 1981 and designed by Viennese architect Hans Holleini the interior looks like some white walled Gothic fortress cut up with a homage to the 1920s silent movie classic The Cabinet of Dr Calligaris only less extreme . Steps lead you up ,along and into irregular shaped rooms some with nooks and crannies, others with corridors and interior walkways that lead to adjacent rooms , it is delightful and disorientating but perhaps anxiety inducing for any families with boisterous young children in tow. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
What becomes evident after wandering around a while is the realisation that these spaces were created in a time that dates it to a period just prior to access for the disabled being an integral part of public building design. Here the provision of handrails, ramps and a series lifts seems to have been considered to be sufficient enough. As for the reception area, it is positively provincial , a meagre collection of books and cards and not a gimmick in sight ,the emphasis here is on whats going on in the gallery and not whats on sale the gift shop or on the menu in bistro cafe . This is a place for looking at art.
A Tale of Two Worlds is an exhibition which pulls together works produced between the 1940s and the 1980’s from the Frankfurt collection and Latin American works from the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. Works by artists from one world living through post war period of economic growth and democratic consolidations the other producing their work in environments of economic decline, consumed by military dictatorships and Marxist revolution, with both set against the backdrop an emerging mass media and popular culture.
And so it feels appropriate that one the first pieces the visitor encounters are two perforated boards by Argentinian born Italian Luciano Fontana each punctuated with visceral violence, bringing to mind earlier works by Goya and Manet depicting the executions of unarmed men in their cruciform stance. Luciano Fontana
Into another room and Frankfurt born Otto Greis’s informal painting appears to reflect his experience as paramedic in the Wehrmacht. The aftermath of all that blood and soil , bodies and bandages expressed through the medium paper and paint .The exhibition continues with several freestanding sculptural prosthetic mouth pieces made by the self taught Argentinian Alberto Heredia. Heredia moved to Madrid in the 1960s before moving on to Amsterdam and Paris but here it is the work depicts the horror show of violence which began in the 1970’s in his native land , these menacing silent/ screaming creatures are monstrous and compelling to look at all within the safety of an art gallery.
A series of 5 photographs taken in Beunos Aries on September 23 1981 by Eduardo Gil bare witness to a date when Mothers and students commenced the 3rd resistance march of protest against the military junta that had been in power since 1976. Conceived initially as an art project, protesters bodies were drawn / out lined with ink and paint on paper to provide a powerful figurative visual representation of the many thousands who had disappeared in the dirty war, the project developed beyond an art idea into an event for public participation with protesters producing the images of their disappeared loved ones and transformed the Plazo De Mayo into an aesthetic and political site, the silhouettes of the disappeared pasted on to walls standing together , defiant, each figure named , an individual still present and bearing witness.
On an adjacent wall the process of low art production is echoed by three Cy Twombly blackboards, chalked rectangles each ambiguous, life size standing sentinels bearing witness or perhaps keeping guard, protecting something wordless . They’re appearance evoking the notions of a doorway , a ladder and a window leading us perhaps to another realm.
Words and Images Bunny Shepard
The exhibition continues till April 8 2017