Vision Afrika. Turn of the Fire

Municipal Museum Braunschweig, 24 March – 7 July 2019

P. Joch and B. Strauß et. al.: Ruth Baumgarte. Vision Afrika. Turn of the Fire, Imhof Publishers: Petersberg 2019

The Städtisches Museum Braunschweig presents the expressive Africa cycle of the internationally known artist Ruth Baumgarte from 24th March until 7th July 2019. Earlier exhibitions of the Africa cycle were on display at the Ludwig Museum Koblenz (2017/18) and the Marble Palace of the Ludwig Museum at the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg (2018).

At the opening of the exhibition, a reading with the well-known actress Hannelore Hoger took place. Furthermore, Dr. Peter Joch (Director of the Städtisches Museum Braunschweig) and Alexander Baumgarte (Chairman of the Art Foundation Ruth Baumgarte) gave a thematic introduction to the exhibition. A high-quality, hard-copy publication was released.

Ruth Baumgarte's Journeys to Africa

From the 1980s onwards, the artist travelled to Africa more than 40 times over a period of 20 years, visiting mostly South and East African states including Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, and South Africa. During this time, she developed her unique, expressive style of painting. Layers of imagery push themselves together, creating distinct, sometimes apocalyptic visions. Her works, however, always mirrored the artist’s strong empathy towards the population and inhabitants of the countries she visited. Colour-intensive depictions of the people and landscapes she encountered are witnesses to her inner solidarity with the African continent. Simultaneously, she experienced and confronted herself with the social and societal upheavals shaking the continent at that time.

“Ruth Baumgarte – Vision Afrika. Turn of the Fire”, Interview with actress Hannelore Hoger

Africa cycle

The Ruth Baumgarte-expert and director of the Ludwig Museum Koblenz, Professor Beate Reifenscheid, sums up: “Ruth Baumgarte was well-distanced from any form of exoticism, exotic ‘charm’ or euphemistic perspective. (…) Rather, she brought together the seen and experienced in intensive, dramatic visions, which she created in reaction to current events, yet going beyond real situations and happenings.” The Africa cycle, that comprises more than 100 works and is the artistic response to her travels, is presented at the Städtisches Museum Braunschweig – incorporated in its historical context, emphasising the topicality of this remarkable and exceptional artist, who was well ahead of her time. The dynamic development of the socio-political situation of the past years and until today especially underlines the new and growing relevance and high topicality of Ruth Baumgarte’s works – on a cultural as well as societal level.

Online Exhibition Catalogue