February 27 - April 26, 2015

The Freiburg-domiciled artist Ralph Fleck (born 1951) ranks among the leading exponents in the field of contemporary painting. As virtually no other, he has consistently and uncompromisingly negotiated the narrow line between realistic and abstract figuration, and, in so doing, forged a gamut of visual experiences which often only reveal their cosmos on closer study.

In what is a German première, the Museum Küppersmühle is now presenting a retrospective of his work, which showcases his painterly exploration and transformation of real structures and architectures, such as Alpine scenery, seascapes, landscapes, cityscapes, meadows and still-lifes.
In his work, the boundaries between nature (ie. the natural forms and structures) and architecture (ie. the constructed “artificial” forms and structures) appear to dissipate or merge into a unified entity; his painterly gestures range from expressive brush strokes to the controlled and judicious application of colour planes.

So what are the defining elements of Ralph Fleck's visual language? The rigorous interrogation of (visual) structures and our concept of reality? The exploration of the boundaries between figurative and abstract painting? The lack of any genuine representational function by virtue of the segmentation and the – characteristic – painterly concentration on structural forms and colours, which always retain their link to reality – ie. remain identifiable and readable – yet which due to the heightened dramatisation and unremitting focus melt into abstraction?

All the painting have their origins in the captured image: Beginning with the vast body of photographs which Ralph Fleck necessarily takes himself (for even here the enquiring eye of the artist, and thus his hallmark, is essential), his next step is to select the photo material which he then processes into the act of painting with his customary passion and intensity.

Over the course of his artistic career, Ralph Fleck has formulated a language of form in which reduction, addition and repetition as the serial moment feature strongly. This exhibition charts the path embarked upon by this uncompromising artist and highlights how his artistic gesture and distinctive style constitute the transgression of painterly boundaries.

Curator: Susanne Kleine

Contemporary Art from China
on the Rhine and Ruhr



May 15 - September 13, 2015 



An exhibition under eight roofs


>> Press release [ 571 KB ], 9.9.2014

>> Live recording of the press conference, 14.4.2014


„Chinese artists are currently in the process of discovering and formulating their own artistic language. This is a development we are keen to document.“

Walter Smerling, Spokesman for the Foundation's Board of Trustees

Eight museums along Rhein and Ruhr will be exhibiting contemporary art from China. This collective show of Chinese art is unique worldwide. With its outstanding infrastructure and unique concentration of museums,  the region along Rhein and Ruhr has now become a "forum for China's artists" in Europe. The show is planning to unveil the diverse range of genres, media and styles characterising Chinese art: Sculpture, painting, ink painting, calligraphy and installations, photography, video and film are all featured under the exhibition's concept.

In concert with the various museum directors, a joint German-Chinese team of curators will implement the concept – an exhibition under eight roofs: "China is on the move. Just like the Ruhr region, it is currently undergoing a rapid structural transformation, and change is a part of the daily reality in both countries", observes the director of the participating Küppersmühle Museum, Prof. Dr. h.c. Walter Smerling. "Our exhibition concept envisages showing as many facets of Chinese art as possible. At the same time, we wish to mount an exhibition which – also in political terms – reflects the entire spectrum of Chinese art. Together with our curators, we are exhibiting what we wish to exhibit. Against this background, however, we also aware that we must also seek to engage in a cultural exchange with the State and artists as equals."


Museum Folkwang Essen
Osthaus Museum Hagen
Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl
Kunsthalle Recklinghausen
Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen
Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg
MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst Duisburg
NRW Forum Düsseldorf
Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr

Organization: Foundation for Art and Culture e.V. Bonn

Sponsored by the Essen-based BROST-FOUNDATION and EVONIK Industries AG