Inge Ellegaard, New York down town, 1983-85, 172 x 370 cm, ARoS
Press release, August 2019
Before the Fall of the Wall
31. August – 5 January 2020
With works from the museum’s comprehensive collection of 1980s art, ARoS focuses on the creative explosion that took place in Danish painting in the years up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Those dramatic days in November 1989 meant a farewell to a world where two opposing ideologies had been set on a collision course for nearly half a century and had shrouded the world with a permanent terror of an all-encompassing atomic war.
The exhibition Before the Fall of the Wall showcases around 40 works, all created in the 1980s by leading artists such as Claus Carstensen, Inge Ellegaard, Erik A. Frandsen and Christian Lemmerz. During this period they took up painting again and celebrated the demise of the great narratives and messageless art. They thus allowed this revitalised art form to explode in a burst of colour and references pointing in all directions.
At ARoS we have a fabulous collection of 80s art which we are keen to show off. It is not so very long ago since the Iron Curtain fell but we do have a tendency to forget history, so we would like to remind our audiences with this exhibition, says museum director Erlend G. Høyersten, ARoS.
The exhibition also shows works of foreign artists such as Helmut Middendorf and Terry Atkinson. In contrast to the Danish art scene, which regarded the great political tensions in the world with apathy, the conflict between East and West is highly conspicuous in many of the foreign artworks shown here.
A WORD ABOUT THE 1980s
Although the lines between East and West were drawn up very sharply with communism and planned economy on one side and democracy and capitalism on the other, the West of the 1980s was characterised by its own innate contradictions. It was an age of pop and glitter, the music channel MTV was born and flourished, and the music video lifted pop stars up to new heights. Hollywood cultivated the nostalgia of the 1950s when American consumerism became a global phenomenon, further encouraged under the neo-liberalism of Ronald Reagan. But in sharp contrast to the rise of consumerism and popular culture, this period also gave birth to the punk movement, anarchism, squatters and a powerful left wing that, despite its internal differences, was united in opposition to the prevailing capitalism of the day.
Curator-in-charge: Jakob Vengberg Sevel, curator, ARoS.
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