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Twenty-five Years of the
Deutsche Bank Collection

A Jubilee Exhibition to Mark a Quarter Century of Contemporary Art at Deutsche Bank

”A birthday tells the history of each of our lives, and it's the proof that we have a life in this world. Every Birthday Party is a chance for us to remember that all of us live with and among others. Any cities, any places, are built on the personal histories of the people living there.”
Yutaka Sone, Birthday Party

25, the exhibition celebrating Deutsche Bank’s commitment to contemporary art, presents the world’s largest corporate collection of art, for the first time ever, in a representative museum survey: The Deutsche Bank Collection – its history, its effect on the people who see it daily and on those who shape it, as well as what it means to them.

© Lee Mawdsley, London

To mark this 25th anniversary, the exhibition’s curator Dr. Ariane Grigoteit invited 25 friends of the collection and personalities with close ties to it to choose their favorite pieces of art from the collection, as well as the most important. Museum directors, curators, gallery owners, experienced art advisors and members of Deutsche Bank’s Board of Managing Directors present their views of this unique collection. This ”external” perspective is complemented in the exhibition by an inside view, the ”Curator’s Choice”. In addition to the figurative ”milestones” in art, pieces that now appear as icons of the collection, this section also presents more recent art acquisitions by the bank, for example, works by Julie Mehretu, Tam Ochiai, Emel Geris and William Kentridge. The show offers surprising insights on the past and future of the collection and the unique arrangements of the bank’s ”Art at Work” program.

25 features highlights of German Expressionism, such as Wassily Kandinsky’s Aquarell mit rotem Fleck (1911), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Bahnhof Königstein (1917), Emil Nolde’s Phantasie (1931) and works by outstanding representatives of post-war German art, including Joseph Beuys, Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. But the exhibition’s focus is also on international contemporary art, which has been enhancing the collection’s global character for years now. On display are delicate drawings by the New York-based artist Elizabeth Peyton, along with works by Francis Alÿs and Tom Sachs. In addition to subtle watercolors by Tim Stoner, a British artist, and Laura Owens, an artist from the American West Coast, photographs by Thomas Struth, Isaac Julien, Gillian Wearing and Hiroshi Sugimoto are shown. Furthermore, the exhibition includes works by Kara Walker and Bill Viola, as well as by the young Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi, whose utopian photo-visions created a sensation at her solo exhibition in the Deutsche Guggenheim in early 2004.

© Lee Mawdsley, London

For the first time ever, the exhibition space of the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin has been extended into the adjacent premises of Deutsche Bank. Embedded in the visionary design of Zaha Hadid, the exhibition itself forms an extraordinary work of art, with approximately 300 pieces from the 20th and 21st Century, thus providing a survey of more than a hundred years of art history.

Zaha Hadid, the star architect from London, is the first woman to have won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. Her recent projects include the Ice Storm installation for the MAK in Vienna, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati and the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg. In 2005, Zaha Hadid won the architectural competition to design the Architecture Foundation’s new building in London. The fascinating journey Hadid has designed through these works of art mirrors the development of Deutsche Bank’s commitment to art as well as the unique settings of the ever-present ”Art at Work” in the bank, which hardly anyone can remain indifferent to.

Architecture of the exhibition by Zaha Hadid
© Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin
Photo: Mathias Schormann

Launched in 1979/80, the collection has grown through continuous acquisitions and been on display in the bank’s buildings around the world under the motto ”Art at Work”. To many viewers, ”Art at Work” is both a challenge and an inspiration. It is the biggest corporate collection of art in the world, comprising over 50,000 works. And as part of a pioneering concept, it constitutes an alternative form of currency in the bank.

© Lee Mawdsley, London

Since then, contemporary art has been an expression of both the individuality and identity of Deutsche Bank. Many bankers have had their first experience of art at work, and many artists have had their works displayed for the first time in a bank. In the late seventies, the idea of presenting art in the workplace in banking offices around the world was truly innovative, testimony to the status Deutsche Bank accords to art in its corporate culture.
This continues to be reflected in the innovative spirit of the bank’s commitment to culture, and it has become a model for many other companies around the globe. Unlike visiting a museum, seeing art at work is a direct, daily experience – an ongoing interaction. The collection’s unique character has been shaped, above all, by the personal commitment of everyone involved in its creation, by their love of art as well as their courage to take the path less traveled by in their search for new ideas and perspectives.

The godparents:
Prof. Dr. Jean-Christophe Ammann, Former director, Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Irina A. Antonova, Director, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Prof. Dr. Peter Beye, Former director, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart
Dr. Rolf-E. Breuer, Chairman of the supervisory board of the Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt am Main
Sadie Coles, Art dealer, London
Dr. Count Christoph Douglas, Art advisor, Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Dr. Klaus Gallwitz, Founding director, Frieder Burda Collection, Karlsruhe
Ingvild Goetz, Collector, Munich
Bärbel Grässlin, Gallery owner, Frankfurt am Main
Francesca von Habsburg, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna
Dr. Tessen von Heydebreck, Member of the board of managing directors of the Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt am Main
Max Hollein, Director, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main
Yoshiko Isshiki, Art advisor, Tokyo
Fred Jahn, Gallery owner, Munich
Dakis Joannou, Art collector, Athens
Hilmar Kopper, Former chairman of the supervisory board of the Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt am Main
Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
Paul Maenz, Friend and collector of art, Berlin
Ivo Mesquita, Curator, Sao Paulo
Prof. Dr. Mikhail B. Piotrovski, Director, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Miuccia Prada, Fondazione Prada, Milan
Sir Simon Rattle, Artistic director and chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin
Craig Robins, Collector, Miami
Nicolaus Schafhausen, Director, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main
Wolfgang Wittrock, Art dealer and chairman of the Ferdinand Möller Foundation, Berlin

Read following articles about the exhibition at www.db-artmag.de, Deutsche Bank's online art magazine:
- Welcome to "25"
- Hall of Fame
- Interview with Ariane Grigoteit
- Visionary Spaces: Zaha Hadid
- The press on "25" in Berlin
- Interview with Godmothers: Sadie Coles and Bärbel Grässlin