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Into the Third Dimension: Spatial Concepts on Paper from the Bauhaus to the Present

Where does drawing stop and when does sculpture begin? The exhibition explores the boundaries between sculpture, drawing and printmaking as seen in selected works by thirteen artists. Using techniques such as folding, slitting and embossing, they break with conventional conceptions of space and establish new ways of seeing.

The Städel Museum’s programme for 2017 kicks off with an exhibition looking at the representation of spatial concepts in drawing and printmaking. “Into the Third Dimension: Spatial Concepts on Paper from the Bauhaus to the Present” will be shown in the Exhibition Hall of the museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings. The show examines how such things as delineation, form, and volume, ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ – characteristics that define space and aid orientation – are represented in drawing and printmaking, in essence on flat, two-dimensional surfaces. The exhibition takes visitors on a tour beginning with the geometric compositions created in 1923 by El Lissitzky and László Moholy-Nagy, through to examples of printmaking in contemporary conceptual art.

It encompasses works by a total of 13 artists, including Lucio Fontana, Eduardo Chillida, Sol LeWitt, Blinky Palermo, James Turrell, and Michael Riedel. Lithographs depicting Constructivist perspectival representations are displayed alongside embossed prints that emerge out of two-dimensional flatness. Slits revealing imaginary spaces are juxtaposed with designs for wall pieces. Prints evoking three-dimensionality, created by figures of Minimal Art, space art, and light art, can be seen alongside chalk drawings, foldings, and collages by 20th century sculptors. The exhibition does not feature preliminary sketches or documents written in the wake of the artworks themselves. Rather, it features independent works in which artists have executed their spatial concepts within the formal parameters of techniques employed in printmaking and drawing. The exhibition brings together important sheets from the Städel Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings, selected works from the Deutsche Bank Collection at the Städel Museum, long-term loans from the Commerzbank AG, and loans from a private collection.
Relevant research areas: 20th Century, Contemporary

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