Kunsthalle Hamburg, UNFINISHED STORIES

Christoph Irrgang, Kay Riechers,

Amburgo, Germania,


Exhibition, Event,

On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is staging the exhibition UNFINISHED STORIES to showcase significant parts of its international contemporary art collection, one of the most relevant of its kind in Germany. A great excuse to go to Hamburg and visit the complex on the Alster River that was revamped and expanded in 2016.

  1. Blog
  2. Events
  3. Kunsthalle Hamburg, UNFINISHED STORIES

Kunsthalle Hamburg, UNFINISHED STORIES Hamburger Kunsthalle, located close to the Alster, Hamburg’s second most important river following the Elbe, is a complex of three buildings, the first of which dates back to 1869. The complex is home to one of Germany’s most important public contemporary art collections. The Kunsthalle is one of only a few places to give visitors a tour across eight centuries of art history. More than 700 artworks form its permanent exhibition. Specialist areas include North German medieval art with altarpieces by Master Bertram and Master Francke, 17th-century Flemish art, 19th-century German art with works by Caspar David Friedrich, Philipp Otto Runge, Adolph Menzel and Max Liebermann and classical Modernist works by Max Beckmann, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edvard Munch and Paul Klee.
To celebrate its 150th anniversary, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is staging the exhibition called UNFINISHED STORIES, much of its international contemporary art collection, also one of the most extensive and sought-after in Germany. Visitors to UNFINISHED STORIES can enjoy masterworks, rarely seen pieces, new acquisitions and site-specific works being displayed again for the first time in many years in the 1300-square-metre extension of the Galerie der Gegenwart (Gallery of Contemporary Art) designed by Oswald Mathias Ungers in 1996. More than 20 exhibition rooms and 150+ works showcase the history of art from the 1960s to the 2000s in an exemplary manner, displaying the simultaneity of diversity, juxtaposition and overlapping of different styles and movements. UNFINISHED STORIES focuses in particular on the narrative potential of art and how it can tell captivating, enriching, touching, irritating and provocative stories, inviting us to develop them further. 
The exhibition is curated by Brigitte Kölle with the scientific assistance of Ann-Kathrin Hubrich, and it tells its stories in the plural form. Organized in various narrative threads, the exhibition covers several central themes in art that have been re-examined repeatedly across the generations: for instance, human beings and our relationship with gender, nation and society (A. R. Peck, Bernhard Heisig, Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol), along with the resulting – at times critical – images of the self and the other (Maria Lassnig, Rebecca Horn, Annette Messager, Tom Wesselmann, Allen Jones). And family structures, romantic relationships and interpersonal connections, in general, all come under close scrutiny (Paul McCarthy, Abramović/Ulay, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gerhard Richter). Even the material gains prominence. The notions of process, energy transformation and time are all keywords in this context (Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Andreas Slominski, Anna Oppermann). Another narrative thread highlights the innovative strategies pursued in art since the 1960s that called traditional conventions into question. Indeed, visitors and viewers are much more to the forefront; they play an active role, things have also changed in how art is received and perceived. Franz Erhard Walther, Arthur Köpcke and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, therefore, occupy a central position in UNFINISHED STORIES, as representatives of a concept that sees art as a collaborative practice involving the viewer as a finisher of the work.
You can visit the UNFINISHED STORIES exhibition in person, respecting all the physical distancing regulations, until 29 August 2021.

Christiane Bürklein

30 August 2019 to 29 August 2021
curated by Brigitte Kölle with the scientific assistance of Ann-Kathrin Hubrich
Images: see captions - Kay Riechers, Christoph Irrgang
Find out more: https://www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de/