The Deutsche Bank Collection at the Fire Station in Doha

Within the framework of the Qatar Germany Year of Culture 2017, works from the Deutsche Bank Collection are being presented in Qatar from October 3, 2017, to January 21, 2018. Masterworks of German contemporary art are on view at the Fire Station, one of the country’s most important art institutions.
What is German about German art? This question is investigated by GERMAN ENCOUNTERS, an exhibition conceived specifically for audiences in Qatar. With 115 exemplary works on paper, photographs, and paintings by 27 artists, the show focuses on German contemporary art from the 1960s up to the present day. At the same time, it tells a piece of art history—about the Deutsche Bank Collection. Since it was founded in the late 1970s, the collection has continually reflected German history and the present day.

Five sections address different aspects that characterize the development of German contemporary art. The starting point for the exhibition are positions that push forward Constructivism, the utopias of Modernism, and the legacy of he Bauhaus: works by Josef Albers, the ZERO artists, the colorful geometric abstractions of Imi Knoebel, and the architectural photographs of Bernd and Hilla Becher. With their typologies of abandoned industrial architecture in Germany, the photography couple documents the gradual decay of erstwhile utopias and simultaneously the reality of the young Federal Republic of Germany. 

The exhibition presents many artists who have had a decisive influence on the Deutsche Bank Collection since its founding, including the Neo-Expressionist painters Georg Baselitz and Markus Lüpertz, as well as Jörg Immendorf with his renewed history painting. Among the prominent artists represented are Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, who were once proponents of “Capitalist Realism.” In their painting, they not only comment on the stuffiness of the German economic miracle, but also explore the realities of a new consumer and media culture. Alongside Joseph Beuys, artists are presented who have defined completely independent positions since the early 1980s and in very different ways stand for a socially committed or critically expanded concept of art: Isa Genzken, Martin Kippenberger, and Rosemarie Trockel.

An entire room is devoted to photography of the Düsseldorf School. Works by Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, and Thomas Ruff were bought for the collection long before they made their international breakthroughs. The exhibition concludes with works by Neo Rauch, the first East/West German painter star, who since the early 1990s has stood for a renewal of figuration. Artists such as Marc Brandenburg, Katharina Grosse, Anette Kelm, Daniel Richter, and Karin Sander represent the “art laboratory” into which the German capital Berlin has transformed since the fall of the Wall. They make use of a variety of means and media, from conceptual photography and abstract painting to autobiographical drawing.

October 2, 2017 – January 20, 2018
Fire Station, Doha