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Louise Bourgeois in
Word Script Sign

15 September 2023—14 August 2024
Kolumba Art Museum, Cologne, Germany

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»In the beginning was the Word« is the opening line of the Gospel of St. John and one of the most complex figures of thought in world literature, since »the Word was with God, and the Word was God (…) Nothing was made without the Word«. The Evangelist formulates an exclusivity, which invites a contradiction. He could not »possibly rate the word so highly« declares Goethe’s Faust, the universal scholar, in order to ponder whether it should not rather be the »idea«, the »force« or ultimately the »deed« which were present at the beginning of creation. In relation to art, we can ask ourselves whether the deed or the idea determines a work of art, or to put it another way: if art can simply be thought or needs to take on an accessible form in principle. And what about the relationship between word and picture? Word Script Sign are the thematic fields of our annual exhibition. For if the word is to be of duration, it must be linked to script, which in turn derives from the linear possibilities of drawing, while being itself a sign. When exactly does a drawing become a sign? And what about its ambivalence? To what extent does the legibility of signs depend on cultural consensus bound up with a time and a place? Our collection, with works dating from many centuries, provides the material to reflect on these and other questions.

With works from 14 centuries to the present by Birgit Antoni, Monika Bartholomé, Kurt Benning, Anna Blume, Louise Bourgeois, Felix Droese, Terry Fox, Marta Hegemann, Rebecca Horn, Bethan Huws, Leiko Ikemura, Buket Isgören, Hans Josephsohn, Leonhard Kern, Konrad Klaphek, Robert Klümpen, Jannis Kounellis, Dieter Krieg, Susanne Kümpel, Stefan Lochner, Reinhard Matz, Bärbel Messmann, Rune Mields, Chris Newman, Marcel Odenbach, Thomas Rentmeister, Raymond Roussel, Lothar Schreyer, Richard Serra, Manos Tsangaris, Andy Warhol, Dorothee von Windheim and students from BURG Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, among others.