"An exciting discourse among all those involved"
Dr. Ariane Grigoteit on the art in Deutsche Bank's new building in Stuttgart
In Deutsche Bank AG's
new building in
Stuttgart, art encounters an innovative con-cept of the working place.
Mobile offices offer the possibility of designing the workplace according
to individual needs. The bank's art concept, which consists of works by
artists closely tied to Stuttgart, enters into this atmosphere of the
freeform working place with a spectrum ranging from Classic Modernism to
young contemporary art. Art historical references are drawn, for instance
between the works of
Oskar Schlemmer and the young photographer
Delia Keller, who investigates the master's
Bauhaus Staircase from 1932 in a work of the same title. At the same
time, the form of presentation itself enters into a dialogue with the
architecture with a perspective shifting from the local context to a
broader view of the international art scene. In particular,
Günther Förg's largescale architecture photographs illuminate
details of the new Stuttgart building, enabling us to see the world around
us in a different way.
Delia Keller, After Millet, 2000
Deutsche Bank Collection
Along with Förg, the
work of another international art star augments the exhibition's
regionally rooted positions: The titles of the apparently innocuous,
Dot paintings of the British artist
Damien Hirst, who is already represented with important works in the
bank's Winchester House in London, refer to the pharmaceutical world. The
series attests to Hirst's investigations into the cycles of life and death
much in the manner of his prepared
animal bodies swimming in formaldehyde, which shocked the public; one of
these works can be seen in Stuttgart. In accordance with the Deutsche Bank
Collection's focus on contemporary art, the artistic disciplines
represented in the building such as painting, sculpture, drawing, graphic
art, and photography reflect the many facets of the contemporary art
scene, with a particular emphasis on the younger generation of artists. On
the occasion of the opening of the new building on September 27, Petra
Stuttgarter Nachrichten spoke with the curator in charge, Dr. Ariane
Grigoteit, Global Head of Deutsche Bank Art - about art, the bank, and the
art concept for the new Stuttgart building.
You've played an
important role in building up Deutsche Bank's art collection. How does it
feel to have been involved from the very beginning?
It's great to have a chance to amass together a collection like this. We
also had some wonderful advocates. The former and, sadly, recently
deceased member of the board Herbert Zapp set the whole thing into motion
together with his assistant Bernhard Steinrücke, who now runs the
Indo-German Chamber of Commerce in Bombay. I've been working for the
Deutsche Bank Collection since 1986, together with Friedhelm Hütte. At the
time, I was doing my doctorate on
Beuys' watercolors and giving guided tours at
Frankfurt's Städel. That's when they asked me if I didn't want to do
the same for Deutsche Bank. And so I did - and quickly realized that there
was a huge difference between museum tours and the task at the bank.
Günther Förg, untitled (Inturist Garage), 1995
Deutsche Bank Collection
Dr. Ariane Grigoteit,
Curator and Global Head Deutsche Bank Art
What were the differences?
People go to
museums to see art. The works hanging there have already been officially
approved, so to speak. In another environment, for instance in the
commercial space of a bank, people ask why something is supposed to be
art. The confrontation between artists and businessmen is always highly
interesting: it's a collision of two worlds.
200 guided tours are given annually in Deutsche Bank's
twin towers in Frankfurt. Apparently, there's great interest in the art
Yes, the tours our art historians give there
are very popular. Last year, it was exactly 251 tours, more than the
amount of working days in a year. The visitors have an interest in the
entire situation, of course. It's not just about the art, but also a kind
of curiosity about how things look behind the scenes at Deutsche Bank.
And what can visitors see there?
We want to give them an overview
on what's happened in contemporary art since the Second World War. And so
we furnished each floor in the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt with the
works of one artist. We concentrated on the artists and students of two
important academies, in
Karlsruhe. Joseph Beuys and his successors, such as
Felix Droese, stand for the Dusseldorf Academy, while
HAP Grieshaber and his students, such as
Horst Antes, stand for the Karlsruhe Academy.
Willi Baumeister, untitled, undated
Deutsche Bank Collection
You also put
together the art concept for Deutsche Bank's new Stuttgart headquarters.
What were your criteria?
Among other things, it was important
to us to show works with classical Stuttgart roots. In the new building at
Theodor Heuss Strasse 3, we're showing works by
Willi Baumeister and Oskar Schlemmer, as well as photographs by
Anton Stankowski, who lived and died in Stuttgart. Stankowski created
Deutsche Bank's corporate logo, which is known worldwide. Of course, the
younger generation has to be a part of it as well, and so we chose
Tobias Rehberger, Delia Keller, and the draftsman
Peter Holl. It's always very important to us that each branch's concept
contains a refer-ence to the respective city. For our
new building in Sydney, for instance, which
Sir Norman Foster designed, two Aborigine artists created the overall
directional system, while other works reflect the remaining four
What particular challenges did
the new Stuttgart building's architecture present in terms of hanging the
The architecture did indeed present a special
challenge for the hanging. The architects had originally planned an
interior design geared towards setting colorful accents in the building's
core and lending the seating arrangements a more sculptural character, for
instance. We then worked together on a presentation featuring the
exhibition of largescale black and white photographs in the outer
architectural core and sculptures in the two-story atrium.