Willi Baumeister: Gilgamesch

Graphics Cabinet
11 December 2010 – 1 May 2011

Willi Baumeister (1889-1955), banned from exhibiting by the National Socialists and ostracised as "degenerate", left Stuttgart with his family in the spring of 1943. He found a place of refuge in Urach where, during a period of "inner emigration", he created the 64 sheets of "Gilgamesh", the oldest epic poem of mankind.

To enhance the effect of the archaic, Baumeister used the technique of frottage in them. The backgrounds of the depictions appear like the walls of Uruk, weathered by time, on which the artist writes the story in a mysterious script. In addition, many of the depictions also show enigmatic, whimsical humour as well as an immensely rich joy in fabrication.

The Friends of the Staatsgalerie acquired the "Gilgamesh" series in 1980. As part of this exhibition, they are publishing a very special catalogue that sets the complete epic in dialogue with Willi Baumeister's illustrations and highlights the text passages that inspired Baumeister.

Accompanying the Great National Exhibition "Hans Holbein the Elder: The Grey Passion in its Time", the "Gilgamesh" epic can also be understood as a kind of "passion" of the searching hero.