Respect and response

March, 23rd - September, 1st 2019

 

Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop
Weg zum Hohen Ufer 36, Ahrenshoop 

 

The focal point of the exhibition is the sculptural work of Jo Jastram (1928-2011). The prominent North German sculptor would have turned 90 in autumn 2018. Jastram was born in Rostock, has worked there for many years and has left significant artistic imprints in the public space of the Hanseatic city. He was also very close to Ahrenshoop. Friendships with the artist families Löber and Klünder living here, with the painter Dora Koch-Stetter, the sculptor Hertha von Guttenberg and the aged Hinstorff publisher Peter E. Erichson led him here again and again. Two personalities who, like him, belonged to the Rostock scene, however, inspired him artistically: Johannes Müller (1935-2012) and Kate Diehn-Bitt (1900-1978).

 

The somewhat younger miller, originally from Thuringia, studied painting in Dresden and settled in Rostock in 1958. As head of a painting and drawing circle at the university, he coined / shaped young people, who deal with art or wanted to be artistically active. He encouraged them to consistently think through methods of artistic work, to take the unconventional results of this thinking seriously and to incorporate them into their own practice. Among his pupils today were prominent artists such as Hanns Schimansky, Manfred Zoller and Gerhard Weber. Müller himself earned high respect through his work - not least with his friend Jo Jastram. The archaic character of his works was a corrective to the sculptor. His pronounced eloquence, the free but nevertheless strict attitude in artistic questions made him an indispensable interlocutor for Jastram.

 

Kate Diehn-Bitt, now regarded as a major painter of the 20th century, met Jo Jastram in the 1960s through Hertha von Guttenberg. The two Rostock artists had been friends since the 1930s when they first appeared on the public floor. Her joint Berlin exhibition debut in the gallery Fritz Gurlitt in 1935 resulted in a professional ban on Kate Diehn-Bitt. When Jastram became aware of her work through a chance encounter, it had not been exhibited for many years, after a retrospective at the Schwerin Museum in 1948. The unacceptable art-political circumstances of the Nazi dictatorship, then the formalism dispute in the early GDR, forced them to work in secret almost uninterruptedly. Jastram contacted her and reassessed her art. The stubbornness of the painter impressed him as much as her intense, unmistakably own expression. His artistic standard was strengthened not least by the friction in her work.

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