Visual Arts - exploring the future
In the visual arts, we initiate and realize projects around contemporary art. We seek subjects and artistic positions that address challenges in society today and explore emerging future issues. The projects are initiated in collaboration with artists and art institutions in Germany and beyond. Our particular focus here is on the creative process and collaborative exchanges with partners in the arts. Partnerships with world-renowned institutions are extremely important to us. The Siemens Photography Collection, for instance, has been housed in Munich's Pinakothek der Moderne since 2003.
Engagement with arts and culture is expressed through its own projects and interdisciplinary partnerships. Starting a corporate collection in the conventional sense is not a stated aim of the Siemens Arts Program.
- Studies reveal that 90% of Berlin’s artists are impacted by old-age poverty
- Artist studios and free spaces for art are steadily disappearing
- 84% of Berlin’s gallery owners and art dealers say they wouldn’t open a new gallery today
Cultural places and a vibrant cultural scene are essential to maintaining innovative, successful urban development in Berlin. Yet, space in Berlin is getting scarcer and more expensive. How can public policymakers and the city support the drivers of culture and creativity? And what can private-sector businesses do to help maintain a city’s allure that’s extensively owed to its vibrant cultural life? These questions are currently sparking contentious debate not only in Berlin, but also in many of the world’s major cities. One forum for such dialog took place January 8 in Berlin when the Society of Friends of the Academy of Arts joined the Siemens Arts Program to host the 6th Capital Cultural Talk. Discussion centered on the banner theme of “Spaces for Culture”.
The podium panelists included artist Katharina Sieverding, the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Hermann Parzinger, the former President of Berlin University of the Arts, Martin Rennert, and Matthias Sauerbruch of the Sauerbruch Hutton firm for architecture, urbanism and design. Among those attending in the audience were numerous Berlin artists and representatives from galleries, artists associations, and Berlin’s business world. After an almost two-hour discussion, moderator Stephan Frucht – Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program – summed up the demands facing public policymakers and the private sector.
Excerpt from the demands facing public policymakers, private-sector businesses, and civil society:
Berlin needs more free spaces for new as well as established artists. The city’s onward development as an urban area must allow and embrace the unregulated, the uncontrolled. There must be rights of first refusal for artists in the city center. Art also needs to sell in Berlin – so purchasing art must be incentivized by creating tax benefits. New requirements are needed for new building projects – building owners should offer 30% of the newly erected apartments at lower prices. Private-sector businesses should make studio space available at affordable prices. The dying-off of nightclubs must be prevented – the art scene and nightclubs go hand in hand, and form part of the city’s identity. Centers of arts should themselves become cities. Curating the outdoors – architecture alone cannot keep a city vibrantly alive. Museums and the creative scene must be more closely integrated with one another.
At end of the event, the Berlin artist Super Pop Boy called for society to look ahead and refocus more strongly on the future. Society should seek a place for the future, one that reflects today as well as tomorrow. He furthermore urged that art must relate to our lives today, and public policymakers should engage and devote greater attention to today’s art.
The artist Felix Stumpf added that, “Art is a yearning that doesn’t want to be controlled or commercially exploited. Art, with its energy, doesn't need these institutional thoughts."
Ute Weiss Leder of the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin (bbk berlin) made specific reference to the solutions her association has proposed.
Katharina Sieverding rounded out the discussion by paraphrasing the well-known saying: “Art is dead. Long live art!”
Deutschland 8 –German Art in China (September 19 – October 31, 2017)Siemens supports group exhibition in Beijing. The exhibition brings together more than 50 artists, represented by about 300 works, among them Georg Baselitz, K.O. Götz, Katharina Grosse, Anselm Kiefer, Alicja Kwade, Sigmar Polke, Neo Rauch, Gerhard Richter, and Katharina Sieverding.
Ahead of the opening of the exhibition in Beijing, Katharina Sieverding gave us an insight into her work.
Ms. Sieverding, for you what makes a good photograph?
From the outset, my mantra has been that from one (or more) photos, I first have to make a picture, in other words an image imagined and constructed all the way through to the final content statement. This is not about photo art, much less art photos. It is about exploring, testing, challenging the full potential of photography and more than anything, discovering its technological origins and evolution into a mass medium and using this to create the right content, so that politically I am able to meet my responsibility in dealing with these contradictions as an artist.
You lived and worked in China for a time. To what extent did that influence your art?
Following two years of preparation from 1976 to 1978, Klaus Mettig and I were given permission to make a two-and-a-half-hour film, shot in 16 mm - BEIJING – YANAN – XIAN – LUOYANG –SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1978. The specific anticipatory image/text quality of large-scale Chinese representations in the public space interested me. And informed some of my early works. From 2002 to 2003, as part of a pilot project for Berlin University of the Arts, I held a Visiting Professorship for Visual Culture Studies at the China Art Academy in Hangzhou and was involved in the Shanghai Biennale 2001.
Siemens is using very advanced computed tomography to try to gain medical insights into the invisible. Your monumental photo painting in Berlin’s Reichstag building shows a sort of X-ray, where a spinal column is shot through with flames. In your images, are you seeking what is hidden or magnifying what is visible?
In this statement, I am diagnosing and contextualizing what politicians need to be mindful of in their place of work, the Reichstag. What is their responsibility politically on and between earth and sun - the x-ray findings suggest an insidious disease of our time. NASA is diagnosing solar flares.