Ruth Baumgarte

Africa: Visions of Light and Color

Until 5 March 2023

It is with works by the German painter Ruth Baumgarte (1923-2013) that the ALBERTINA Museum sets out to present an outstanding artist of the 20th century. At the center of this presentation in the Columned Hall is Baumgarte’s wide ranging body of works born of her travels to African countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. These altogether ca. 38 oil paintings, watercolors, and graphic works manifest a near magical quality when viewed in person Zimbabwean poet Chirikure Chirikure said of the artist: “She viewed the countries of Africa and their peoples not as models to be immortalized on canvas but as an integral part of her journey through life.”

Beginning in the 1950s and until well into her old age, the artist made over 40 trips to Africa, whose people she attentively observed and empathetically appreciated. She took an interest in the unfamiliar cultures of a continent that had yet to be discovered by European artists at that time. Central to any understanding of Ruth Baumgarte’s art is the relationship between human beings and nature, the melding of figure and landscape. On the basis of quick sketches made onsite, she would later on upon having returned home to her studio in Germany create vividly colorful paintings, virtuoso watercolors, and expressive gouaches and drawings.

Athi-Patra Ruga
Interwoven with this monographic presentation of Baumgarte’s works, curated by ALBERTINA Modern director Angela Stief, are works by the South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga, recipient of this year’s Ruth Baumgarte Art Award and hence a successor to previous awardees such as William Kentridge, Michael Armitage, Nan Goldin, Mona Hatoum, and 5 others. Ruga, who was born in Umtata, South Africa in 1984 and divides his time between Johannesburg and Cape Town, pursues a hybridization of forms and content in his multimedia oeuvre. His visual imagery, situated between the utopian and the real, playfully dismantles geographic borders, gender-based attributions and social constructions of African history. He makes the amalgamation of differing cultural influences into the concept of an art that unrestrainedly employs innumerable references and exhibits no inhibitions where appropriation is concerned.

On view at the ALBERTINA Museum from 8 December 2022 until 5 March 2023.

Image Gallery – 13 Images


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Ruth Baumgarte | Africa: Visions of Light and Color

EUR 29,90 | Deutsch
EUR 29,90 | Englisch

Begleitend zur Schau in der Pfeilerhalle erscheint die zweisprachige Publikation im Hirmer Verlag, die auf 176 Seiten Einblick in den umfassenden Werkkorpus der Künstlerin gewährt.



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