Exhibitions

The Redeeming Eloquence of Tried and Tested Things ― Jena Paradies Revisited

Werner Büttner

December 18, 2010 - November 20, 2011

Werner Büttner, Die erlösende Eloquenz erprobter Dinge - Jena Paradies revisited, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, 2010, Foto: Fred Dott / Kunstverein
Werner Büttner, Die erlösende Eloquenz erprobter Dinge - Jena Paradies revisited, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, 2010, Foto: Fred Dott / Kunstverein

Werner Büttner is among the German artists who in the late 1970s and early 1980s brought art back into direct contact with socio-political reality. His circle - in the Hamburg of the 1980s - included Georg Herold, Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger. Wild expression and the rational concept having in their excess lost contact with actuality, Büttner and his kindred spirits returned painting to the real world. They did not allow themselves to be used for the ends of any system, practising one thing above all: artistic resist-ance

His expressive technique of painting is deceptive. On closer inspection, image and word - whether title or accompanying text - open a field of contradiction. His pictures are difficult to grasp adequately in language. We can describe what is portrayed, but soon become unsure because the real content takes place in the interstices - not so easy to identify. Büttner is usually described as a painter, although his works include sculptures and texts, as well as the restaurant "Jena Paradies."

The "Jena Paradies" is a Gesamtkunstwerk. Named after the railway station of his home town, it was accommodated in the Kunstverein in the 1990s. It assembles self-designed furniture with paintings, exhibitions and - last but not least - personalities; for gastronomy, too, is always socially formative. Eating and drinking had always been led by the "Question Mark Quadriga" at the bar.

The Kunstverein is now devoting a foyer presentation to this social work of art. Constituting a link between the ground and upper floors, it is the central space of the Kunstverein and hence the ideal location for the "Jean Paradies Revisited." The foyer will allude symbolically to the former restaurant and provide a frame-work for succeeding presentations of Werner Büttner. In addition to the exhibitions, a programme of events will take place under original lamps from the Jena Paradies, including cooking performances as well as lectures and discussions.