What remains of the anniversary marking 200 years of Baden Art Association? Having researched intensely on the history of the house and the exhibitions, we asked ourselves what came up last year and what remains unanswered. In the wake of the anniversary, we want to come back to a particularity of the work of the art association: to the history of the annual edition. Parallel to the members’ exhibition, it was only possible to present a small part of the annual editions still available, for which it was precisely these rather ephemeral and flexible formats that portray the diverse programming at the association in a significant way.
Th result is an exhibition of almost all available annual editions from 1842 to 2017, some of which are being publicly presented for the first time in a long while. Among them are editions that were forgotten or out of print, rediscovered during the research for the 200th anniversary, or made available by members for the presentation.
Notably, for instance, portfolios that were made available from the private collection of Schloss Salem with association editions from the years 1904 till 1919, including the graphic work Marabu by Friedrich Barth. Furthermore, the exhibition shows work from the early context of Karlsruhe Academy of Fine Arts, such as works by Walter Conz and Hermann Kupferschmid. Otherwise on show are three exceptional prints by Karl Hubbuch as well as Otto Piene editions or a piece by Wolf Vostell represented in the pioneering group exhibition “Kunst und Politik” (1970). The placing of all works in the exhibition history were visualised with posters, catalogues and documents while critical research was conducted on the principles of the annual editions and their genesis.
It is the first time that an art association deals with its unique principles of annual editions, made available or re-produced by selected artists of the association, in order for them to be sold to members. The beginnings of the annual edition works are closely related to the birth story of the art market and once a year, the association is swept up into the cycle of the buying and selling of artworks. In the last few years, press attention for the editions has clearly increased with long articles in Die Zeit, the Süddeutschen Zeitung or the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung that present cross-sections of works on offer from the institutions. Likewise, international art magazines devote themselves to the regular reporting on the yearly edition series. The prices are seductive, as the works are often offered below gallery prices, and they are not only accessible for members but often also for non-members and have been so for a while – usually with a price mark-up.
A team of art historians, art researchers, scenographers, and designers engaged themselves with the question of presentation and contextualisation regarding the annual editions at Baden Art Association. For the presentation, a multi-dimensional exhibition structure emerged, that threaded through all the spaces of the art association. This structure develops from the successive wearing away of the surfaces, making the underlying raw material visible, thereby revealing new architectural and content-related connections. The diversity of genres and media regarding the annual editions has grown in the last two centuries: from collection portfolios lotteries to individually purchased editions and one-offs, the concept undergoes a similar development as the programmes of the art associations. The focus lies especially on the historical works that are positioned and re-viewed from multiple perspectives throughout the exhibition.
Not only do annual editions hold a long tradition, but also salon conversations go back to the founding of art associations at the beginning of the 19th century. This salon was brought back to life in the context of the MITTWOCHS IM KUNSTVEREIN (Wednesdays at the art association) series. Every Wednesday during exhibition hours, a short talk was given, the viewing of a painting, or a performative contribution took place in relation to the exhibition and the concept of the edition series.
Conception and production of exhibition and events:
Anja Casser, Hubert Distel, Lizzy Ellbrück, Tiffany Justine Erndwein, Yvonne Fomferra, Hanna Franke, Hanne König, Malte Pawelczyk, Christina Scheib, Lisa-Kathrin Welzel
Lizzy Ellbrück, Tiffany Justine Erndwein, Hanna Franke
Opening: Thursday, February 7, 2019, 7pm
Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe
Stephan Baumann, bild_raum