June 16 – September 3, 2023
Social criticism 1920-1924 War, etchings 1924
The exhibition is presented by ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen
Direct confrontation on the front line of the war turned out to be such a difficult and terrible experience for machine gunner Otto Dix that it determined the artist’s entire subsequent life and greatly influenced his work. In 1914-1918, during his military service, on the battlefields in Belgium, France and Russia, he created more than 600 graphic works. This highly artistic documentation of the First World War, together with the artist’s recollections, formed the basis of a later grandiose serial work entitled “War”, which Dix presented in Berlin in 1924.
The cycle of fifty independent graphic works, which has been compared to Goya’s “Misfortunes of War”, not only authentically and terrifyingly depicts the battles of the First World War, the horrors of fighting in the trenches, but also unmasks the scourge of war, the real cause of war. The exhibition focuses on this series of etchings, which have a special place among the main works of Dixie’s work.
Dix never imagined that he could change people, that is, humanity, with his work. But because of these anti-war works, he became the object of anger, hatred, and even slander from the Nazi regime, who, after gaining power in 1933, humiliatingly dismissed Otto Dix from the Academy, where he was one of the first professors. Along with that, they were forbidden to exhibit their own works.
Truth was important to Dix, as well as focusing on marginalized social groups of the post-war era, such as war veterans who had lost limbs, etc. and prostitutes; The collection presented at the exhibition includes typical examples of the misfortunes of these people. This insatiable desire to show the truth was already a source of agitation and protest among Dix’s contemporaries during the Nazi regime.
“I will either be famous or have a bad name,” he once said in his youth. He was both. The artist, who was born on December 2, 1891 in Gera-Unterhaus, Thuringia, and died in Singen-Hohentwil, near Lake Constance, on July 25, 1969, really gained worldwide appreciation and recognition.
Curator: Eugen Keuerleber (1921 – 2002)