Conceptual Tendencies 1960s to Today, Daimler Collection, Berlin, Germany

Installation view. Work by Martin Boyce.

October 7, 2011 – March 18, 2012

The Daimler Art Collection is pleased to announce the exhibition ‘Conceptual Tendencies’ at Daimler Contemporary, Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. The exhibition showcases works representing varying conceptual trends from the 1960s up to the 1990s alongside pictorial and media statements by more recent exponents. The intellectual and factual proximity of the works in the exhibition allows the visitor to follow the fundamental moments of Conceptual Art mentioned at the outset: the emphasis of system and series, dematerialization and processuality, rationality/irrationality of the idea of the work, parameters of the artwork, involving the observer, art as language – language as art, the fringes of Concept and Minimal Art, media and techniques of conceptually reduced art. The conditions under which art comes into being are examined, along with temporal and spatial structures, the congruency of theory and practice, the possibility of involving the viewer intellectually and physically, and also the general conditions for presenting and responding to art in institutional contexts. ‘Conceptual Tendencies 1960s to today’ combines current new acquisitions for the Daimler Art Collection with works from this context already in our collection. Artistic positions from the 1960s to the 1990s for example from Albert Mertz, Joseph Kosuth, Andre Cadere, Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Arakawa or Dan Graham are juxtaposed with artistic statements from younger representatives such as Martin Boyce, Santiago Sierra or Jonathan Monk. Some 80 works from 20 German and international artists are on exhibit.

On the landscape of the focuses of the Daimler Art Collection – abstract avant-garde works from Classical Modernism via Concrete and Constructive Art, Zero and Minimal, Neo Geo to the present – examples of historic Conceptual Art represent a quasi-blind spot, for many reasons, with some notable exceptions (Arakawa, Barry, Burn, Cadere, Darboven, Mosset, Roehr, Walther). Only some of those are included in the exhibition but all are present in the accompanying catalog. A corporate collection cannot and needs not strive for museum-like completeness.

The tour through the exhibition ends with three Danish artists: Paul Gernes has recently been rediscovered as a wanderer on the boundaries of Concept/Minimal/Pop of the 1960s and ‘70s who combined these styles with a social revolutionary impetus. A comparable revisiting of the conceptual multimedia work of Albert Mertz that began to emerge in the late 1950s is still pending. Both artists were important role models for young Danish concept artist Lasse Schmidt Hansen, as is evident in his sculptural deconstructions of the norms, systems and regulations of art and day-to-day life.