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Eine Stange hängt eingedreht in einen Stoff von der Decke.

Tense Conditions

A Presentation of the Contemporary Art Collection
16 March 2021 – 6 August 2023

For some time now, tense conditions have shaped our everyday lives. Whether its curfews, violence or the search for one's own identity, we are constantly in the process of readjusting and getting our bearings. Artists respond to the vulnerability and confusion that lies in control, racial discrimination and exclusion. The uncertainty and instability that we experience every day is represented in their work.

The new collection presentation will show contemporary artworks from Scharpff-Striebich's private art collection confronted with twentieth-century works from the Staatsgalerie's own collection. These works highlight the complex and contradictory nature of our society.


Among others, works by Kathryn Andrews, Giovanni Anselmo, Phyllida Barlow, Bernd und Anna Blume, Victor Burgin, Julian Charrière, Cameron Clayborn, Jesse Darling, Tacita Dean, Mark Dion, Jadé Fadojutimi, Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Jochen Gerz, Asta Gröting, Rebecca Horn, Marguerite Humeau, Sergej Jensen, Rashid Johnson, Edward Kienholz, Kapwani Kiwanga, Jürgen Klauke, Simone Leigh, Zoe Leonard, Teresa Margolles, Hermann Nitsch, Marcel Odenbach, Yoko Ono, Barbara Probst, Arnulf Rainer, Sterling Ruby, Anke Röhrscheid, Katharina Sieverding, Timur Si-Qin, Kiki Smith, Pia Stadtbäumer, Diamond Stingily, Rosemarie Trockel, Anna Uddenberg and Ambera Wellmann will be displayed.

In cooperation with the open depot of the Carolin Scharpff-Striebich Collection. We would like to thank Carolin Scharpff-Striebich for the active continuation of the open depot.

Logo der Sammlung Scharpff Striebich


In this film, curator Dr. Alessandra Nappo gives you an insight into our collection of contemporary art, which is currently exhibited in the collection presentation "Tense Conditions."

3 Questions for Dr Alessandra Nappo

3 questions to Dr. Alexandra Nappo

Which forms of expression are characteristic of the era?

"Compared to other art epochs, "contemporary art" is characterised by a great variety of forms of expression. Since the 1960s, performance, happening and Fluxus have established themselves as forms of action art. These are ephemeral forms in which the body of the artist becomes the central component of the work. In the 1960s and 1970s, artists experimented with photographic techniques, partly as a reaction to abstract painting and at a time when action was highly charged. Another media expansion of this period was the emergence of videos, for which Nam June Paik is considered a pioneer. In the course of time, artistic forms have become so mixed that today it is sometimes difficult to define which medium an artist works with: They are often multimedia works or expansive installations that include sculpture, video, photography and other media."

Are there themes that are typical of the art period?

"Not only the art forms, but also the themes since the 1960s are characterised by a great diversity. However, one can recognise a socially critical perspective as a common thread. Several artistic positions since the 1960s and 1970s, such as Edward Kienholz, Yoko Ono, Jürgen Klauke or Katharina Sieverding - to name just a few in the collection - deal with socially explosive topics that still concern us today: social injustice, racism, violence, exclusion, sexual identity, exploitation of nature."

Which is your favourite work?

"As I have been intensively involved with the new collection presentation "Tense States" over the last few months, I would mention one work exhibited in this presentation: the "Torsione" (Turning) by Giovanni Anselmo. The date of origin of the sculpture (1968) makes it an incunabulum of Italian "Arte Povera". In the work, tension is captured in the material: The webs of flannel fabric attached to the wall with a ring were twisted by the force of several people until they no longer allowed any further twisting. The energy expended is stored in the object and can literally be felt. We can thus sense how much effort and joint force is needed to fundamentally change a condition. At any moment, however, the fabric could unwind and the tension discharged."

Exhibition catalogue

Cover des Ausstellunsgkatalogs mit ausgeschnittenem Kunstwerk hinter dem der Ausstellungstitel platziert ist.

The bilingual exhibition catalogue includes statements by all the artists and is also richly illustrated with the works from the exhibition.

Available in the museum shop for €24.90

 Museum shop 

and in bookshops for € 34.90