The Olbricht collection, one of the biggest in Germany, comprises in excess of 2,500 works, a selection of which is on permanent show at Me Collectors Room. This is the first time the collection has travelled to France and it covers a period of five hundred years from the 16th to the 21st centuries and takes in a huge diversity of media and genres, from engravings by Albrecht Durer, Martin Schongauer and Francisco de Goya to others by the Chapman brothers; from photographs by Robert Capa to prints by Cindy Sherman and Vic Muniz.
A medical doctor and art collector from Essen, Germany, Thomas Olbricht, two years ago set up Me Collectors Room, a contemporary art venue in Berlin which, like La Maison Rouge, hosts temporary exhibitions.
curated by Wolfgang Schoppmann
The Olbricht collection, one of the biggest in Germany, comprises in excess of 2,500 works, a selection of which is on permanent show at Me Collectors Room. This is the first time the collection has travelled to France.
The Olbricht collection is remarkable for its scope, as it covers a period of five hundred years from the 16th to the 21st centuries and takes in a huge diversity of media and genres, from engravings by Albrecht Dürer, Martin Schongauer and Francisco de Goya to others by the Chapman brothers; from photographs by Robert Capa to prints by Cindy Sherman and Vic Muniz; from paintings of the Flemish and Italian schools to the work of Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Allan McCollum; from Renaissance ivory statuettes to bronzes by Thomas Schütte and wax sculptures by Berlinde de Bruyckere.
Thomas Olbricht’s journey through the history of art is guided by powerful themes. They inform his choices, run throughout the collection, and connect the works despite their different eras, media and statuses.
Death and its representation, vanity, religious faith, war, the fragility and beauty of the female body, and artists’ renderings of the strange and the marvellous, make this a unique and highly disconcerting collection.
One of its most striking objects is the reconstruction of a Kunst und Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities). A Renaissance precursor to the western concept of the museum, these cabinets are a collection of objects intended to further wonderment and knowledge, and an attempt to understand the world and how art, nature and science interrelate.
In Olbricht’s Wunderkammer, organic and mineral matter, intricate miniature anatomical models, unusual measuring and surgical instruments juxtapose artworks, particularly Memento Mori. The skulls and skeletons made indifferently from ivory, walnut shells, wood or coral, whose essential purpose, above and beyond their artistic prowess, is to remind Man of his mortality.
For the past twenty years, Thomas Olbricht has been compiling a collection of contemporary art which he shows alongside this historic collection.
Thomas Olbricht’s eclectic choices are guided solely by his insatiable passion for art. He brings artists which history and sometimes the market have acknowledged, together with little-known young artists from around the world. Profoundly post-modern, narrative and figurative for the most part, these young artists view the art of centuries past with curiosity, willingly drawing inspiration from, and measuring themselves against, their masters.
Works by artists whose diverse positions elicit ruptures and tensions, ranging from Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke to Franz Gertschou, John Currin, Daniel Richter, together with representatives of the very young generation such as Jonas Burgert, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz or Richard Wathen, will introduce the public to contemporary painting that is rarely seen in France. The exhibition will also include installations and sculptures (Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gian Paolo Bertozzi and Stefano dal Monte Casoni, Katerina Fritsch) and historic and contemporary photography (Nick Ut, Nicholas Nixon, Désirée Dolron, Mat Collishaw). All these works illustrate the themes that define the Olbricht collection.
This selection of some 150 works gives insight into an original collector with an unerring eye.
Image: John Isaacs, Thinking about it, 2002 38,1 × 30,48 × 33,02 cm Courtesy Feige
Claudine Colin Communication
Julie Martinez t : +33 (0)1 42726001 f : +33 (0)1 42725023 firstname.lastname@example.org
28 rue De Sévigné - 75004 Paris
Preview 21 october 2011
la maison rouge
Fondation Antoine De Galbert
10 Bd De la Bastille – 75012 Paris
open Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 7pm
late nights Thursday until 9pm
admission: full price: €7, concessions: €5 (ages 13-18, students, full-time artists, over-65s)
free: under-13s, jobseekers, companions of disabled visitors, members of ICOM and les amis de la maison rouge