The Goetz Collection in Munich
Here, since 1993, Ingvild Goetz has presented to the public select works of art from her magazine in changing bi-annual exhibitions. Thus she means to establish a counter-model to a hectic art business that sometimes succumbs to the pressure for success and short-lived fashions, an "aesthetic laboratory", an "experimental space for art". At the centre of her interests lies the artistic confrontation between the political and aesthetic questions of our time: "With my collection, I want to rouse people and make them pay attention – not only politically but also aesthetically, through very good art".
"I have more fun developing concepts for my collection and holding onto works than selling them."Goetz therefore has a special liking for artists that place our social reality in question and, to this purpose, bring suppressed facts to light or even break existing taboos. She has taken this view since 1969 when, at the opening of her Zurich art gallery Art in Progress, she invited Wolf Vostell to an action in which Switzerland's supplying of arms to Angola was publicly criticised. The action was stopped and the gallerist's residence permit revoked. Not only the politically activist art was thought outrageous, but also the selection of works whose formal language opposed conventional habits of viewing. Goetz carried on with her gallery in Munich until 1984, when she then devoted herself exclusively to her own collection.
"I always collect the younger generation on principle"In search of a personal access to art, Goetz has expressly come to grips "with the new and contemporary". If as gallerist she exhibited artists like Cy Twombly, Bruce Nauman, Christo and Andy Warhol, as collector she has devoted herself intensely, next to non-representational painting, to the Italian Arte Povera. American artists like Mike Kelley, Paul Mc Carthy and Jeff Wall, Nan Goldin and Tony Oursler, were included in her collection later. In the 1990's, she bought works by young British artists like Mona Hatoum and Sarah Lucas who had attracted public attention in the controversial group exhibition Sensations. A central aspect of these works is the critical and provocative investigation of patterns of identity and concepts of the body which mirror the power relations and role assignments embedded in our social structures. That the political element in art shows itself today less in collective statements than in the expression of subjective moods and individual experiences was recently demonstrated by two exhibitions: Hautnah (i.e., Very Close) (2002), in co-operation with the Villa Stuck in Munich, and Wohltat der Kunst (i.e., The Blessing of Art), an inspection of post-feminist approaches co-produced with the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. In order to engage herself with the changing contemporary strategies of perception, Goetz began early to concentrate on new media like video and video installations. Recently a special exhibition space for this part of her collection was set up in former storage rooms: Base 103. This extensive body of works, which could be viewed at the exhibition fast forward (2003) at the ZKM in Karlsruhe, includes works by artists like Matthew Barney, Emanuelle Antille, Gillian Wearing, Stan Douglas and David Claerbout.
"I have a great need to be constantly in touch with my collection"From 1989-92, Goetz had an exhibition building built in the garden of her house. The architects Herzog & de Meuron, who have been internationally praised for their museum architecture since their building for the Tate Modern in London, designed a rigorous, minimalist construction of two boxes stacked on top of one another, the upper rims of whose walls are encircled by a glazed, greenish band of glass. A wooden cube rests upon an identically large concrete cube which is sunk into the ground so far that only its upper glazed zone is visible from outside. At ground level and between the two elements, U-shaped wedges have been inserted which function as an entrance hall, equipped with office and library, and as a technical room. As from outside the encircling pedestal and upper border of glass bands give the building the appearance of being nearly weightless, so inside they guarantee a soft, even distribution of light over both exhibition floors. With no view outside, the clean-limbed, ascetic rooms with high white walls concentrate the viewer's attention on the exhibits.
A collection as a "total work of art""The museum gives me the opportunity to treat my collection creatively, to curate exhibitions, to publish catalogues. Besides, I would like to enable other people to take part in the collection." Thus in her own exhibitions, Goetz lets different artistic directions impact on each other, tries new groupings, and gives her subjective selection over to discussion in her own experiment and presentation rooms. A team of co-workers study the works from an art historical point of view, take care of them and restore them. At other museums, Goetz appears as a co-curator and still more often as loaner of art-works so as both to supplement exhibitions and to make her collection available to a broad public and expose it to current debates.
The collection, which now comprises 2,500 works of sculpture, photography, graphic and video art, is being constantly expanded and updated. This consists neither in a "soulless" accumulation of valuable individual objects nor in covering the greatest possible spectrum of cultural expression. In constant touch with gallerists and in continuous visits to galleries, Goetz explores new approaches and follows with curiosity the development of artists in her collection. For, as she says, "the collector that buys works which personally jar and engage him creates, through his collection, a new total work of art".
The author is an art historian, a director of dance and video performances, and a free-lance writer.
Translation: Jonathan Uhlaner
Copyright: Goethe-Institut, Online-Redaktion
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