At Wellesley, Prints by Christiane Baumgartner

General / People / Places / September 5, 2018

Most exhibitions of printmakers’ work are given the smallest amount of real estate in a museum.

Not so for German native Christiane Baumgartner.

When her show opens at Davis Museum at Wellesley College on September 21, it will be presented in an enormous gallery with walls of equal scale, in the manner in which the artist intended.

That’s because her prints – she crosses woodcuts with digital media – are exceptionally large. “Her ‘Totentanz’ in particular, is massive and astonishing,” says museum director Lisa Fischman. “If you’re too close it disappears in front of your eyes – you can’t figure out what you’re looking at.”

Often monumental in scale, or undertaken in extended series, Baumgartner’s work is about speed and transmission, about human sight and its elusive capture, about cultural memory and modes of representation.

The new exhibition – her first in the United States – features 55 works completed within the last decade. “Christiane Baumgartner: Another Country” includes several of the magnificent monumental woodcuts—hand-carved blocks and hand-printed impressions—for which the artist is best known, along with photo-engravings, aquatints, and photogravures executed in series.

Viewers can look forward to a kind of experience that exceeds its physical and intellectual embodiment – to coming away with a sense of experience that challenges what they think they can know about artwork.

“It’s a physical experience with these prints that is extraordinary and the way your body is forced to engage is extraordinary,” she says. “You have to make sense of what you’re seeing – the scale requires you to move up close and then move back.”

The Davis Museum is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition, which runs through Dec. 16.

For more, go here.


Credits: All artwork courtesy Christiane Baumgartner and Alan Cristea Gallery, London
Christiane Baumgartner © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn e.V. 2018 /ARS, New York

Another Country, 2016
Woodcut on Kozo paper
Block: 47 3/64 x 62 63/64 in (119.5 x 160 cm)
Edition: 6 + 2 AP

Also, detail Another Country (detail), 2016

Cosmic Fruits – Kiwi, 2016
Woodcut on Kozo paper
Block: 24 51/64 x 47 ¼ in (63 x 120 cm)
Edition: Unique

The Wave, 2017
Woodcut on Kozo paper
Block: 55 1/8 x 78 47/64 in (140 x 200 cm)
Edition: 6 + 2 AP

Phoenix, 2018
Woodcut on Kozo paper
Block: 55 1/8 x 78 47/64 in (140 x 200 cm)
Edition: 6 + 2 AP

Klasse 7a (Mädels), 1998
Screenprint on paper
22 × 29 9/10 in; 56 × 76 cm

Happy Hour – London Fog, 2018
Woodcut/Painting on Kozo paper
Block: 67 23/32 x 51 3/16 in (172 x 130 cm)
Edition: Unique

Happy Hour – Sex on the Beach, 2018
Woodcut/Painting on Kozo paper
Block: 67 23/32 x 51 3/16 in (172 x 130 cm)
Edition: Unique

Totentanz, 2013
Series of fifteen woodcuts on Japanese paper
Block: each 25 x 33 5/64 in (each 63.5 x 84 cm)
Edition: 6 + 3 AP + 1 p.p.

Also, detail Totentanz (detail), 2013

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

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