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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.
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.
“If you had one word to describe what Siemens means to you and what you stand for in your private and professional environments, what would it be?” This was the questions Siemens leaders were presented with. Their individual associations were crafted into an art installation by the artist Rupprecht Matthies at the Siemens HQ in Munich (May-September 2017).
At the initiative of the Siemens Arts Program a vibrant dialogue between the company Siemens and the artist Thomas Struth has evolved in this project. Struth visited selected Siemens locations in Berlin, Erlangen, Forchheim and Alpharetta / USA. There, he created five of his own works, which he combined with selected archive images in a multi-layered art installation. For this work, Thomas Struth had sighted hundreds of archive pictures from Siemens history. The dialogue between the past and the present forms new connections and creates space for creativity and innovation. (Coordinates – a curated Siemens history, June 2016)
Libeskind’s ten-meter-tall and 15-ton matte-finished aluminum sculpture takes the form of a wing ("The Wings") and is part of a four-sculpture installation that was originally exhibited at the Expo in Milan. Now presented at the Siemens Headquarters in Munich, at the founding location in Berlin and at the largest Siemens location in Erlangen the sculptures symbolize an "Innovation Bridge" linking these milestone locations in the history of the company with the world. Especially impressive is the sculpture in the dark when the LED's integrated in the surface light up and playfully visualize - with its graphic animations - the topic of digitization. (June 2016 – April 2017)
SCHWESTERNGRUPPE is a sculpture of more than three meters in height created by Georg Baselitz is located right at the center of the atrium of the new Siemens Headquarters. Georg Baselitz says of his work: "What you see is memory on a monumental scale: in this case, my sister and her friends walking arm-in-arm across the village square. The tradition of the Three Graces, from Ancient Greece via Botticelli to the present day, is one of the themes of this work. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a group of figures with interlinked arms in the history of sculpture." The art in the new Siemens atrium creates an open passageway between downtown Munich and the city's own art district. (June 2016)
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