Dix is Present
For the first time, Otto Dix’s oeuvre from the Nazi era is being examined in the context of a comprehensive exhibition. Deichtorhallen Hamburg reveals the shifting cultural and social parameters in the reception of Dix’s oeuvre, while at the same time showing how his work continues to hold great fascination with contemporary artists.
Starting out from his radical and provocative – and to this day popular – paintings of the 1920s, Otto Dix (1891-1969) went on to create an ostensibly apolitical body of work after 1933, whose visual language was far less aggressively critical of society. During the Nazi era, his previously striking depictions of German society morphed into partly subversive, partly subtle forms of contemporary social critique. Images of war and socio-critical milieu studies gave way mainly to landscapes, commissioned portraits and Christian allegorical subjects.
The artistic reception of Dix in terms of subject matter, political iconography, style as well as technical and genre-specific issues is the second focus of the show. The artistic impact of the abovementioned political censorship, conformity and political iconography in contemporary art takes centre stage and showcases works by a significant number of the world’s most renowned artists of our day. From John Currin to Cindy Sherman, each has been challenge or stimulated by means of appropriation and reinterpretation.
Although to date, the work Otto Dix created during the Nazi era had taken a backseat in both the public sphere and research, curator Dr. Ina Jessen and her exhibition at Deichtorhallen Hamburg, have successfully redressed this.
Words by Fabzirio Mifsud Soler
Ausstellungsansicht Anselm Kiefer, Am letzten Tor, 2020-2021, Teil der Ausstellung Dix und die Gegenwart in den Deichtorhallen Hamburg © Deichtorhallen Hamburg 2023, Foto: Henning Rogge
Monica Bonvicini, Mountain Town, 2017 © Courtesy Studio Monica Bonvicini Berlin und Galerie Krinzinger, photo: Studio Monica Bonvicini Berlin
Ron Mueck Woman with Shopping, 2013/2015 Collection Thaddaeus Ropac, © Ron Mueck, Foto: Eva Herzog
Tobias Zielony Yusuke, 2021 © Tobias Zielony
Paula Rego, Olga, 2003 © Paula Rego, Courtesy Marlborough International Fine Art
Kati Heck, Jungs III – Goldene Hand, 2022 © Kati Heck. Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp, photo: Tim Van Laere Gallery
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