From 15 December 2007 to 25 May 2008 the Helms-Museum showed the special exhibition “Jonathan Meese and Daniel Richter – The Archaeological Terror”. The spectacular exhibition project with its free interpretation of the subject of archaeology found its end at the Helms-Museum: the museum was the last stop of the show and – being the Hamburg state museum of archaeology – thus a fitting setting. The exhibition showed more than 100 pictures and objects that presented the different associations the two artists Daniel Richter and Jonathan Meese had concerning archaeology.

A special appeal for both artists: they were free to act in their artistic work at the Helms-Museum and designed the exhibition locally themselves, right between the museum’s prehistoric exhibits.

At 18 January 2006 the much-noticed vernissage with 14 works of both artists took place at the Kunsthaus Stade. Since then the exhibition featured in galeries and art clubs in Berlin, Freiburg and Rosenheim. Complementing every exhibition was a happening with both artists during which new objects were created. Jonathan Meese and Daniel Richter are among the world’s most sought-after German artists (as of 2008) and the project was a premiere for them as well: the exhibition was the first cooperation of the two stars.

Achaeology, death and memories. These were the core subjects of the exhibition. It was all about life and the mortal remains of arch bishop Gottfried von Arnsberg, whose grave was discovered and excavated 1992 in Stade. Meese and Richter were, animated by their friend and Stade city archaeologist Andreas Schäfer, inspired by the bishop’s burial and made the clergyman an object of art on big screens.

The title “The Archaeological Terror” already lets one assume that the exhibition is about the free interpretation of an archaeological subject. On some pictures the finds were strongly alienated – the artists questioned the regular understanding of history in that way. One of the pictures was called “The Whip of Memory” and showed a skull and a leather whip. The exhibition also featured a lot of self portraits of the artists, not without self-ironic references to their own star cult.

“The things are undeciferable”, said Jonathan Meese himself about the exhibited object. The absurd and the funny lay beneath the surface of many works and the viewer was to discover many things only at a second glance. But exactly that was the allure of these pictures. The pictures posed a new challenge and showed a new field of perspective for the archaeologist as well as for the artist.


Location:

Special Exhibition

Museumsplatz 2
21073 Hamburg

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