On June 1, 2018, the new Kunsthalle Mannheim opened its doors for the first time. But it is not just the tailor-made and spectacular museum complex that is attracting everyone’s attention. The new concept is also exciting attention at home and abroad. It is impartial, courageous and open to all.
“Surprise” is perhaps the word that best encapsulates the new Kunsthalle. Because the building – which appears so monumental and bombastic from the outside – dissolves inside into a uniquely light architecture. The spacious and airy atrium that receives you rises an impressive 22 metres. Through the glass roof, the sun projects wandering shadows over Anselm Kiefer’s “Sefiroth”, a lead relief weighing almost three tons, while Alicja Kwade’s installation “The moving emptiness of the moment” sets a station clock and a boulder swishing over the heads of visitors. The atrium is both marketplace and meeting place, where the digital reorientation of the building manifests itself as well via the digital advertising pillar, which hypnotically documents the process from construction site to finished museum. An absolute highlight is the extensive Collection Wall – a gigantic touch screen that provides a playful first glimpse of the collection before you pass through into the cubes that house the works of art.
The Kunsthalle Mannheim is presenting a total of five exhibitions for the grand reopening. Running until 2 September 2018, for example, the first special exhibition will revolve around the international photo artist Jeff Wall, whose large-format light tables, black and white photographs and colour prints will be given full space to unfold in the new rooms of the Kunsthalle. “Jeff Wall. Appearance.” plays with the eye of the beholder, sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, but always carefully composed, like a film still. Also running until the beginning of September, the exhibition “Carl Kuntz. Between Idyll and Realism.” tells of the beginnings of the Kunsthalle Mannheim collection. Freshly restored, these landscape paintings and sketches by the Mannheim artist offer an insight into the period between classicist and increasingly realistic 19th-century painting.
Running until 2020, three permanent exhibitions will deal in different ways with the Kunsthalle itself. “(Re)Discover – The Kunsthalle Mannheim 1933 to 1945 and the Consequences.” deals with the impact of National Socialism on the Kunsthalle Mannheim and its collection, which can still be felt today. “Remember. From the History of an Institution.” deals with three exhibition projects with which the house shaped the international discourse of its time in the 20th century and lastingly influenced art history from Mannheim. With the fitting title “OPEN”, the entire curatorial team around Director Dr. Ulrike Lorenz breathes new life into the renowned collection. The “Single File of Styles”, as Lorenz calls the chronological presentation of art, is pried open in the new Kunsthalle Mannheim to the benefit of existential questions that are relevant for people here and now. In contrast to what is probably the best-known piece in the collection, Manet’s “Shooting of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico”, for example, is “Arena”, a walk-in installation by contemporary artist Rita McBride.
Your constant companion during a visit to the Kunsthalle could also be the specially programmed app. This is a media guide and interactive route planner in one and compiles your personal museum catalogue for you, which will be printed and bound after your visit and delivered direct to your home. “The museum gives the energy it receives from the city back to the city”, explained museum director Dr. Ulrike Lorenz. This constant exchange of energy is sure to inspire you too. The best way to get an impression of all the innovations that Germany’s largest new art building in Mannheim has in store for you is to make an early date to visit it yourself.