DIX AND THE PRESENT
The Deichtorhallen Hamburg is presenting a major exhibition for autumn 2023 on Otto Dix and his influence on art extending up to the present. The first part of the two-part exhibition presents Dix’s supposedly non-political work from the Nazi era for the first time, in which the artistic effects of political censorship, conformity, opposition, and political iconography become evident.
After Otto Dix (1891–1969) created his radical and provocative works in the 1920s, which remain popular today, beginning in 1933 he started creating a supposedly non-political oeuvre whose style departed from his previous social criticism: after 1933, the previously striking pictures of society were transformed into in some cases subversive and in other cases subtle forms of contemporary criticism. The previous war scenes and socially critical pictures were replaced with landscapes, commissioned portraits, and, beginning in 1937, Christian allegories.
Until now, Otto Dix’s work during the Nazi era has occupied a secondary position in the exhibition and research landscape. The first part of the exhibition Dix and the Present focuses on this gap. In order to cover Dix’s landscapes, portraits, and Christian subjects in the context of his time, the exhibition places the painter, his work, and his professional career in the artistic and political context of the Weimar Republic, Nazism, and the period just after the end of the war.
The second part of the exhibition focuses on the artistic reception of Dix in relation to subject matter, political iconography, style, technique, and genre. The show makes visible the changes in cultural and social conditions in the reception of Dix’s oeuvre, and also shows the great fascination that his work has exerted for around 40 of the most well-known contemporary artists around the world, between appropriation and reinterpretation, challenge and incentive. The selected artists include Yael Bartana, Monica Bonvicini, Marc Brandenburg, John Currin, Alice Neel, Nicolas Party, Cindy Sherman, Katharina Sieverding, and Kara Walker, among others.
Curated by Dr. Ina Jessen