Kunsthaus Dresden

A Visit On-Site with Leoni Wirth

01 Nov 2015 - 06 Mar 2016

Leoni Wirth: Entwürfe zu realisierten Arbeiten im Stadtraum, 1968-1975. Leihgeber: Dr. Hans Wirth. Foto: David Brandt. Im Hintergrund: SLUB Dresden / Deutsche Fotothek / Peter, Richard sen.: Dresden. Wasserspiel von Leonie Wirth auf der Prager Straße, um 1970.
1 November 2015 – 6 March 2016

Curated by Torsten Birne and Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz


Leoni Wirth and
Rimma Arslanov, Susan Hefuna, Margret Hoppe, Ali Kaaf, Su-Ran Sichling, Mona Vatamanu / Florin Tudor
With A Visit On-Site with Leoni Wirth, the models and drafts of the Dresdner artist, spatial planer and architect Leoni Wirth (*1935 – 2012) will be displayed in one show for the very first time. Leoni Wirth is known in Dresden above all for her fountain designs on Prager Straße from the late 1960s. The water feature colloquially called the “Pusteblumenbrunnen” (Dandelion Clocks) as well as the shell fountains conveyed a sense of quality of life in the then modernist urban environment of the GDR. Kunsthaus Dresden features a selection of sculptural objects and drawings from the studio of Leoni Wirth, highlighting the workshop character of the material and placing a special focus on the aspect of her independent, formal development of abstract motifs.

The exhibition A Visit On-Site with Leoni Wirth is an homage to the artist who would have turned 80 this year. In addition to questions related to the biographical and art-historical localization of Leoni Wirth’s oeuvre, works by six contemporary artists reflect the present-day relevance of the abstract formal vocabulary to contemporary art. The juxtaposition reveals a difference in the contexts of origin and thus enables viewers to once again assess the attributions commonly made to abstraction since late modernism.

Against the background of an ongoing crisis of traditional visual vocabularies, the works open the view to the aesthetic experiences of a global modernism: The works reference traditions of modern sculpture, the architectures of Islamic regions, and the iconic structures of Le Corbusier; they take up natural forms in the “Gelehrtensteinen” (Suiseki) and in German post-war modernism, and not only reflect the violence of current political and cultural changes but also show modernism as a shared process. In Leoni Wirth’s drafts as well as in the contemporary works of the show, the abstract form remains a lively aesthetic balancing act, inviting viewers to take a closer look.

An exhibition by Kunsthaus Dresden in collaboration with the Kunstfonds / Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and the lender of Leoni Wirth’s works, Hans Wirth.

We cordially thank the architects office Zanderarchitekten, Dresden, for the design concept and implementation of the exhibition on Leoni Wirth.

The project in cooperation with the Freundeskreis des Kunsthauses Dresden is supported by the Dresdner Stiftung Kunst und Kultur of the Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden

Tags: Le Corbusier, Susan Hefuna, Margret Hoppe, Margret, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor