Die Geschichte(n) hinter den Werken (Securing Traces. The story(s) behind the works, Exhibition, Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz Berlin, 29 October 2022-23 January 2023

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Provenance research means more than clarifying ownership and redressing historical injustice. It enables a new and different view of well-known works. Surprising research results on the provenance of paintings, books, objects and documents in the collections of the Akademie der Künste are the starting point for the exhibition Securing Traces. Selected examples illustrate the detective methods of provenance research and tell the stories behind the works. At the same time, the repercussions of the research results for the Academy and the complexity of the decision-making process in the case of incriminated objects will be addressed.

The exhibition focuses on central aspects of the ownership history of works of art: it deals with the identification of Nazi looted art in the Academy's own holdings and the search for the collections of the Prussian Academy of Arts lost during the Second World War. A completely different topic, which is increasingly becoming the focus of provenance research, is the efforts of the GDR state apparatus to gain possession of usable art assets or identity-forming collections.

The exhibits include manuscripts by the philosopher Walter Benjamin, the collection of the art critic Alfred Kerr confiscated by the Gestapo, a sketchbook from the estate of Max Liebermann, oil sketches by Carl Blechen that were thought to be lost, or the private collection of paintings by Otto Nagel, which aroused the covetousness of GDR cultural policy after his death.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of events with a series of discussions, a wide range of educational offers and a publication with in-depth essays and biographies of the works. The artist and filmmaker Marianna Christofides explores the objects and themes of the exhibition in a mixed-media installation.

Accompanying the exhibition, KUNSTWELTEN offers programmes for children, young people and families. In a "forger's workshop", young and older guests can paint over pictures, print and change signets. Audio guides, produced together with pupils, lead through the exhibition.

To visit the exhibition website, click here.

Source: accessed 27 October 2022

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