Monday, September 28, 2009

Museum Visit: Pinakothek der Modern

Munich has three main art galleries, all within a block of each other and all named "Pinakothek":

Alte Pinakothek: Art from the 14th-18th centuries
Neue Pinakothek: Art from the 19th century
Pinakothek der Modern: Art and design from the 20th and 21st centuries

This weekend I headed over the the third of these museums for a short visit, simply to check out the scope of the collection, as I only had a short time to spend there.  I plan to return when I have more time and explore the different themes of the museum in more detail.

This museum is just opposite the Brandhorst Museum used as the subject for my photos in Project 3:

From an exterior standpoint they could not be more different, the Brandhorst is extravagently colored, whilst the Pinakothek der Modern is very austere:

However, both museums share one thing in common, spectacular internal architecture. This is the ceiling dome of the ticket hall and entrance:

In both cases the museums house great art collections, but also provide the photographer with fabulous subject matter and inspiration.  The museum divides into roughly 4 sections, modern art, architecture, design, and space for two temporary exhibitions.  On the day I visited there was a photography exhibition presenting the works of Gerrit Engel an architect and photographer.  The exhibition presented a number of series of images of buildings from New York and Berlin, grouped in rectangluar blocks of photographs:

All images were taken on cloudy days with white flat backgrounds to focus attention on the buildings.  The images were superbly executed and the geometrical presentation very striking, however, the overall impression was flat.  Although all of the images were in colour they lacked any impact and perhaps would have been more impressive in a stark black and white format.

I then spent a little time in the Classical Modernism section, in particular to see the works by the Bauhaus school, such as Paul Klee a former teacher at the Bauhaus, having just studied one of Johannes Itten's books

The geometric arrangement and harmonizing colours have always interested me, I have a Klee print on the wall at home, so having an opportunity to study the real thing was very satisfying.  The collection houses many other paintings by Picasso, Dali, and Warhol, among others, however, on this visit the single most impressive work was far removed from paint and paper.  The following two images are of a work by Dan Flavin, created from colored strip lighting:

The entire room was bathed in green light, a fascinating object to photograph!

The other part of the museum I briefly visited was the design exhibit in the basement, not only a study of design, but a design statement in its own right.  The stairs leading down to the basement open onto the following exhibit

My final image from this short trip was a radial aero engine, very stark in its simple and yet complex symmetry

Once again I have used a museum visit, originally intended to broaden my knowledge of art as a photographic investigation of the shapes and forms that I found there.  Perhaps this is a good way to develop my eye?

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