Ruth Baumgarte. Turn of the Fire

Ludwig Museum Koblenz, 12th November 2017 – 7th January 2018

B. Reifenscheid / C. Chirikure / M. Bodenstein: Ruth Baumgarte. Turn of the Fire, Prestel Verlag Munich, 2017

The Ludwig Museum Koblenz presents the large, long-term conceptualised exhibition Ruth Baumgarte. Turn of the Fire that puts works belonging to the expressive Africa cycle by the artist Ruth Baumgarte (1923-2013) on display. Accompanying the exhibition, a 200-page strong publication is published by Prestel Verlag, Munich, which features contributions by contemporary African writers and politicians. A continuation of the show by the Ludwig Museum in the Marble Palace at the State Russian Museum St. Petersburg is already scheduled for summer 2018.

During the 1950s, Ruth Baumgarte began travelling the African continent on her own and off the beaten, touristic tracks – a continent which was, at that time, widely unknown to the European world. This is where she developed her unique, expressive style of painting. From the 1980s onwards, she travelled to different South and East African states, the Apartheid-shaped South Africa especially, for in total more than forty times and for a period of over 20 years – and raised her paintings into layers of imagery pushing together, forming distinct, sometimes apocalyptic visions.

The resulting Africa cycle was newly transformed and taken to the present day by the Ludwig Museum’s exhibition in a manner that emphasises the ways in which this exceptional European artist has been processing the societal, tribal, and political aspects of the continent’s socialisation in her works for decades, long before an art-historical discourse on this topic was established in the Western world.

The Koblenz exhibition Ruth Baumgarte. Turn of the Fire, comprising approximately 30 paintings (some of them large-format) as well as approximately 20 drawings and watercolours, is accompanied by a publication featuring contributions by Chirikure Chirikure, Maren Bodenstein, and Lindiwe Mabuza.

The exhibition was curated by Prof. Dr. Beate Reifenscheid, director of the Ludwig Museum.

Online Exhibition Catalogue