Tour de Madame 15, 2018, Öl auf Leinwand

Jutta Koether is planning an exhibition for Museum Abteiberg that will penetrate the history of painting. The starting point for her concept is Tour de Madame, a complex of paintings she presented as her most recent work in major retrospectives in Munich and Luxembourg last year. Originally conceived as an answer to Cy Twombly’s Lepanto cycle at Museum Brandhorst, Koether will reinstall this series – once again mounting it on glass walls – and develop it into a moment of thought and deflection point for the Museum Abteiberg collection. Other completely new works by Koether will occupy spaces for the collection on the museum’s so-called slab level, the skylight rooms between Gerhard Richter’s Eight Grey paintings and Sigmar Polke’s Kunststoffsiegelbildern (Plastic Sealant Paintings) from his cycle for the 1986 Venice Biennale.

This exhibition – the Cologne-born artist’s first museum exhibition in the Rhineland – is also a very site-specific project in which the artist draws on well-known Mönchengladbach exhibitions that dealt with both the medium of painting and its viewers and the location of the museum. An artist who began working in the largely male-dominated Cologne art scene of the early 1980s, Jutta Koether (b. 1958) established a kind of painting that has placed viewership in the image ever since. Koether’s conceptual device is the color red, as symbol and signal color. It still dominates most of her works today; it is a color filter, a kind of red pair of glasses that makes the tinged gaze, the presence of the viewer, eminently perceptible while simultaneously producing a kind of ongoing visual alarm. Koether’s current work shows more distinctly than ever the artist’s pronounced art-historical perspective and tireless grappling with the history of painting, art, and culture: Her mostly large-format paintings, forms of expressive gesture and sketch-like figuration evoke art-historical perception, pictorial compositions, and schemes, afterimages of paintings seen. They broach the force fields, signs and emblems, glances and communications, norms and freedoms that make painting what it is.
The project Libertine will be included in a new artist’s book by Jutta Koether, which will be published subsequent to the exhibition.
Thanks to Museum Brandhorst for the glass construction for Tour de Madame. Our gratitude also to the sponsors of the exhibition and publication, the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Foundation for Art, Culture, and Social Affairs of the Sparda Bank West, the Hans Fries Foundation, and Jürgen Hall.

Jutta Koether (b. 1958, Cologne) lives and works in Berlin and New York.

Exhibitions running parallel to her show at Museum Abteiberg include “Maskulinitäten” at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, and “Emissaries for Things Abandoned by Gods” at Casa Luis Barragán, Mexico City.

Supporting program for the exhibition:
Exhibition talk with Jutta Koether on the day of the opening, 2 p.m.
Further exhibition programming will be announced in the coming weeks.