We Call It Ludwig

Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
27 Aug 2016 - 08 Jan 2017

We Call It Ludwig

Minerva Cuevas, IUF (International Understanding Foundation) / (Stiftung für internationale Verständigung), 2016. Mixed media. Composition of the anthem: Viola Kramer. Installation view, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 2016. Courtesy Minerva Cuevas. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv/ Britta Schlier.

The group exhibition We Call It Ludwig is the high point of the landmark year 2016 at the Museum Ludwig. The museum will be celebrating three anniversaries: in 1946 Josef Haubrich donated his collection of modernist artworks to the city of Cologne and thus laid the foundation for a museum. In 1976 Peter and Irene Ludwig signed a donation agreement comprising some 350 works of contemporary art, and in 1986 the new museum building was opened.

The theme of this wide-ranging show is the institution itself. For the anniversary exhibition, which was jointly conceived by the director and all the museum’s curators, 25 international artists and artist collectives have been invited to engage in depth with the institution and to react to the question of what the Museum Ludwig means to them. The title We Call It Ludwig was purposely kept open-ended, since the exhibition is not intended to offer a concrete definition, but a variety of subjective perspectives that together form a kaleidoscopic image of the institution. The Museum Ludwig defines itself in large part based on its own history, its collection, and, above all, the people who have shaped it—as an artists’ museum. We Call It Ludwig accounts for this situation by reflecting along with these participants in the art system on what the museum has been, is, and can be.

For instance, Georges Adéagbo will install individual compartments of his installation Explorer and Explorers Facing the History of Exploration…!, which he expanded in 2004 for the Museum Ludwig, in selected rooms of the museum’s permanent collection, and will thus engage them in a dialogue with modernist artworks or works by Joseph Beuys. This important work reflects the aims of the collection of the Museum Ludwig, which has been devoted to “world art” from the beginning.

The selection of 25 participating artists spanning every continent deliberately underscores Peter and Irene Ludwig’s global approach to the collection. For instance, they maintained close contacts with Cuba, where they met the artist Diango Hernández in the mid-1990s. Now Hernández will translate important exhibition titles from the history of the museum as well as its logo into a sensual and poetic landscape of undulating seating and murals.

The Guerrilla Girls collective will take a very different approach by critically reevaluating the collection from a feminist perspective. Maria Eichhorn, by contrast, will deal with the processes that led to the signing of an employment contract with her as an artist, thus emphasizing the administrative structure of the museum. With The Chocolate Master from 1981, Hans Haacke will present the result of his meticulous and critical research on the family and corporate history of the chocolate manufacturers and art collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig.

Artists with a close connection to the museum such as Candida Höfer, Marcel Odenbach, Claes Oldenburg, Gerhard Richter, and Rosemarie Trockel will also present new perspectives on the city and its museum.

Participating artists:

Georges Adéagbo, Ai Weiwei, Ei Arakawa & Michel Auder, Minerva Cuevas, Maria Eichhorn, Andrea Fraser, Meschac Gaba, Guerrilla Girls, Hans Haacke, Diango Hernández, Candida Höfer, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Kuehn Malvezzi, Christian Philipp Müller, Marcel Odenbach, Ahmet Öğüt, Claes Oldenburg, Pratchaya Phinthong, Alexandra Pirici & Manuel Pelmuş, Gerhard Richter, Avery Singer, Jürgen Stollhans, Rosemarie Trockel, Villa Design Group, Christopher Williams

The exhibition is generously supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Kunststiftung NRW, the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, the Stiftung Kunst, Kultur und Soziales der Sparda-Bank West, and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

Concept: Yilmaz Dziewior

Curatorial team: Stephan Diederich, Yilmaz Dziewior, Barbara Engelbach, Julia Friedrich, and Miriam Halwani

Associate curator: Leonie Radine
Assistant curator: Anna Czerlitzki




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