Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi

EXHIBITION 23.06.17 – 07.01.18

"Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi" presents a comprehensive overview of rare and never-before exhibited large-scale paintings along with other works by the Guyanese-born British painter Frank Bowling. Born in Bartica, British Guyana, in 1934, Bowling left his native country at the age of 19, arriving in London in 1953 as part of the momentous wave of Anglophone West Indian and Caribbean populations who migrated to England in the aftermath of World War II. Later he would go on to study painting at The Slade School, University College London, and Royal College of Art, distinguishing himself with the silver medal for painting (David Hockney received the gold medal) in RCA's 1962 graduating class.

The principal anchor of this exhibition is the monumental and celebrated "map paintings" (1967–1971) that were first shown to acclaim at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971. For Bowling, whose art is preoccupied with place and history, like those of his Caribbean contemporaries, the poet Derek Walcott and philosopher Edouard Glissant, the use of maps as conceptual objects of painting make for a fitting transactional trope through which to tackle the idea of geography and narrative. Maps and mapping present not only an exploratory metaphor through which to mirror the physical weight of painting; they also project absorbing, metaphysical, and protean domains.

Standing before the imposing presence of Bowling's immense, delicately worked, and tactile paintings – with their mists of muted colors, scumbled fiery substrates, and volcanic surfaces – is to be emplaced; to be simultaneously grounded in a vast oceanic presence and anthropocentric field in which the beholder is able to generate new meanings of landscape and space. References to the natural world evoke reflections on the vernacular and the post-industrial, the mythical and the classical, the literary and the spatial. These references echo and limn imagery from the marsh flats of colonial Bartica in British Guyana, where he was born and raised, to the terrifying undertow of the Caribbean sea that he sailed to escape the claustrophobia of island existence; from the ancient shores of River Thames, where he found a home and hearth in London (the capital of empire), to the gritty, unforgiving urban miscellany of New York, where he honed his artistic voice.

"Mappa Mundi" is thus an appropriate term to describe the absorptive presence of Bowling's monumental paintings. As when first made, today these paintings remain unparalleled pictures of astonishing physical power and stunning visual drama. Rarely has the experience of painting conveyed the feeling of such plenitude and mystery, of being both submerged and enveloped, swept away and invaginated; of being in one’s own body and out of this world.

"Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi" is curated by Okwui Enwezor with Anna Schneider and organized by Haus der Kunst.

Frank Bowling, Barticaflats, 1986, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Barticaflats, 1986, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Dog Daze, 1971, Hales Gallery New York © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Dog Daze, 1971, Hales Gallery New York © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Philoctetes' Bow, 1987, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Philoctetes' Bow, 1987, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Middle Passage, 1970, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Middle Passage, 1970, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Great Thames II, 1989,  Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Frank Bowling, Great Thames II, 1989, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

Stretch your view


Stretch your view

Frank Bowling 

23.06.17 – 07.01.18 

Public tour / English

→ Friday, 25.08, 6:30 pm



Symposium

Art and Black Atlantic Cultures

Friday, 20.10, 11 am

A Symposium around the work of Frank Bowling with Ellen Gallagher, Isaac Julien, Steve McQueen & more MORE


EXHIBITION

Hans Haacke: Gift Horse

27.04 – 20.08.17

Haus der Kunst is proud to present the exhibition of Hans Haacke's celebrated monumental sculpture Gift Horse (2015). MORE


EXHIBITION

Kiki Smith — Procession

02.02 – 03.06.18

"Procession" embraces the multifaceted practice of American artist Kiki Smith and maps its development into the present day. MORE


Publication

Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945–1965 - Exhibition Guide

MORE


Edition

Sarah Sze — Point to Point, 2017

MORE


Edition

Thomas Struth

MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Frank Bowling

26.07.17, 2 pm

Frank Bowling introduces us to a new sensation of space! The large format of his paintings draws us into his world of images. Can colour create a sense of space? MORE


Free First Thursday

Thursday, 07.09, 6 pm

Every 1st Thursday of the month, the entry is free of charge between 6 and 10 pm. MORE


Opening

After-Opening Party

Thursday, 14.09, 7 pm

We bid farewell to another summer – and ring in our autumn program: Haus der Kunst opens its four new exhibitions. MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Frank Bowling

Saturday, 23.09, 2 pm

Frank Bowling introduces us to a new sensation of space! The large format of his paintings draws us into his world of images. Can colour create a sense of space? MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Frank Bowling

Saturday, 28.10, 2 pm

Frank Bowling introduces us to a new sensation of space! The large format of his paintings draws us into his world of images. Can colour create a sense of space? MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Frank Bowling

Saturday, 25.11, 2 pm

Frank Bowling introduces us to a new sensation of space! The large format of his paintings draws us into his world of images. Can colour create a sense of space? MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Frank Bowling

Saturday, 23.12, 2 pm

Frank Bowling introduces us to a new sensation of space! The large format of his paintings draws us into his world of images. Can colour create a sense of space? MORE


Permanent Exhibition

Archive Gallery 2017/18

18.07.17 – 04.02.18

The focus is the summer of 1937 in Munich, when the new Haus der Deutschen Kunst opened with the first "Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung", and the vilified show "Entartete Kunst" [Degenerate Art] was presented concurrently in the gallery building in the nearby Hofgarten MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Thomas Struth

Wednesday, 23.08, 10 am

Art Lab III – Paradises: Inspired by the Thomas Struth exhibition, we create our own paradises, using materials we collect in the English Garden or find in our studio. MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Frank Bowling

Wednesday, 30.08, 10 am

Splash, drip, pour, splatter ... an experiment with colour: In Frank Bowling's paintings, there is much to discover. Shells, packaging material, finds from his studio and much more cover his pictures. MORE


Ages 8 and up / German, Ages 8 and up / German

Thomas Struth

Saturday, 02.09, 2 pm

In the exhibition, the famous artist Thomas Struth presents his own individual views of people. In the studio, you create your own novel and individual portraits: professional photographers show you how to create impressive photographs that are "more than just snapshots". MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Thomas Struth

Wednesday, 06.09, 10 am

Art Lab III – Paradises: Inspired by the Thomas Struth exhibition, we create our own paradises, using materials we collect in the English Garden or find in our studio. MORE


Workshop 6 until 12 years

Thomas Struth

Saturday, 09.09, 11 am

Art Lab IV: Your city – your street. From Düsseldorf to New York – Thomas Struth leads us around the world with his road pictures. We gather ideas in the exhibition and then become architects and urban planners in the studio. MORE


Art commission

DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT: Sarah Sze

15.09.17 – 12.08.18

American artist Sarah Sze has designed a new installation for Haus der Kunst's Middle Hall as the fifth edition of the annual art commission DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT ― VON DEN FREUNDEN HAUS DER KUNST. MORE