The basis of and motive for my academic research and curatorial work is my understanding of art as a realm of intellectual labour whose object, in general terms, is the inspection and contemplation of human mentality. In principle, art might thus be considered an activity seeking to evaluate the human subject, and one whose specific impetus has to be ascertained in each individual instance.
The speciality and key focus of my activity as exhibition organizer are, besides much else, exhibitions and publications on the question of whether and how the most recent contemporary art can already be viewed as a historical sequence. In this context conventional definitions of periods or styles are to be treated with scepticism. In the exhibition “Abstrakte Kunst” (2002) three generations of artists, starting with the 1950s, were brought face to face. It was shown how ways were found out of art’s ideological impasse in the fifties and – as in the case of Sigmar Polke or Daniel Richter – precisely how the abstract forms of this period were adopted to mint a fresh conceptual approach. Standpoints held by artists were either reproduced with ironic detachment or their styles were quoted after being dissociated from their original ideological content. The exhibition “70/90” (2004) examined the correspondence between art and political or social engagement since the 1960s. This project was prompted by the evident return of 1990s’ art to artistic strategies and concepts of the 1970s and the question how this return should be interpreted, whether it was motivated by comparable programmatic aims or was instead about quoting the aesthetic forms of committed concepts from the seventies.
Melitta Kliege (2007)