For Axel Haubrok, art is primarily a question of being able to think. Looking at his collection, it becomes clear that thinking about art, its aesthetic dimension, its ability to communicate, its quest for knowledge and the sublime, and its purpose within society in general is a question that is immanent within the system, but also an important factor in current artistic production.
Minimalist, black-and-white or monochrome are just some qualities of many works in this collection. In formal terms, they are often reduced and conceptual. At the same time, behind their diverse media surfaces there is always also humour or subtle charm: in the mobile white wall by the Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig, for example; in the opulent floral bouquet, renewed every day, on a tall plinth by the Dutch artist Willem de Rooij; in the Saros wall by the London-based German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, a photographic portrait of the phenomenon of the solar eclipse, supplemented by photographs from other sources with a similar feel. These and many more works from the Haubrok Collection, by artists including Hans-Peter Feldmann, Günther Förg, Wade Guyton, Georg Herold, Cady Noland, Charlotte Posenenske, Florian Pumhösl, Karin Sander and Christopher Williams, will be featured in this two-part exhibition.
Barbara and Axel Haubrok began collecting professionally at the end of the 1980s, and their collection now contains over 1000 works. Their focus is on international conceptual art at the turn of the millennium, covering the contemporary art of the last three decades. With their keen eye for thoughtful artists, they have made a name for themselves. As well as museum-scale material, sculpture and painting, photography and film, they also collect installations and small-format ephemera. The Haubroks still passionately support activities in contemporary art and culture, including exhibitions at FAHRBEREITSCHAFT in Berlin Lichtenberg.
The collectors’ busy and diverse exhibition activity and their conceptual approach are reflected in the changing exhibition format at Neues Museum: highlights from the collection will be shown in a two-part exhibition with very different presentation formats. The two parts of the exhibition are linked in particular by the presence of certain artists in both shows, appearing in different contexts.
The exhibition title OUT OF ORDER refers not to some kind of malfunction, but to a resistance to any ordering principle, reflecting the mischievousness and non-conformism of the collectors with their eye for particularly “disorderly”, ambiguous and enigmatic works.
Neues Museum is showing more than one hundred works from one of Germany’s most important collections, presented in the south of the country for the first time. Where the Haubrok Collection is concerned, the ability to think and reflect should not be understood in overly complex terms – much of the work on show is very accessible, humorous and direct.