Simon Starling: Nachbau: Museum Folkwang, Essen
presentation and reception in different historical and architectural contexts. Starling’s starting point and subject matter is the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany, and its prestigious collection of art, one fraught with history. The Museum Folkwang was one of the first museums for modern art, founded at the beginning of the last century. 1,400 works from its collection by artists such as Matisse, Cézanne, Nolde and de Chirico were declared “degenerate” and confiscated during the Nazi iconoclast in 1937. The museum was destroyed in 1944–45, rebuilt after the war, and is about to be modified once again. Using four photographs of the museum’s rooms, taken between 1929 and 1933 by Albert Renger-Patzsch, one of the key photographers of the “Neue Sachlichkeit”, Starling creates a Nachbau – he replicates and reconstructs the historical perspectives. The hangings and surroundings are arranged in a detailed, filmset-like installation. Thus the charged historical background is transferred into a modern day context. This two-volume artist’s book documents and elaborates on Starling’s installation and its underlying conception. Through it the artist envisages the continuities, transformations and alterations which shape art and history.