Pieter Hugo, Ibrahim Sulley, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, 2009, Peters-Messer Collection
Exhibition | 28.09.2018 - 23.03.2019

Young Collections 05

What Paradise? - Peters-Messer Collection
“I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” – in letters vigorously painted upon the canvas, the artist Bjarne Melgaard comes right to the point: art demands its place in society. Since the mid-1990s, Florian Peters-Messer, a real-estate entrepreneur from Viersen, has collected more than 350 works of contemporary international art that are being presented for the first time in this form in the context of a museum. The exhibition offers a pointed, sharply contoured selection of highly political, sometimes explosive works that address the social dislocations of our era in a critical, often oppressive manner. “What Paradise?” does not only inquire into lost promises, however. It also focuses on the individual, on his hopes and possibilities in an increasingly complex and incomprehensible world that apparently considers everything to be possible through globalization and digitalization, even while itself being scarcely understandable. The exhibition deliberately turns its attention to the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, hence to the social function of art overall.
Kader Attia, Parabolic Self Poetry - view 1, 2015, Peters-Messer Collection @ VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2018
Kader Attia, Parabolic Self Poetry - view 1, 2015, Peters-Messer Collection @ VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2018

“What Paradise?” brings together internationally renowned, frequently discussed positions including Kader Attia, Thomas Hirschhorn and Santiago Sierra, but also still-to-be-discovered artists from a younger generation such as Viktoria Binschtok or the Iranian Arash Hanaei, who is represented with his shocking textual work “Death of a Photographer.” In addition to what are in some cases large-format photographic works, sculptures and videos, a painting and several drawings, visitors will also have the chance to experience a space-encompassing, kinetic installation by the American artist Jon Kessler. 

Bjarne Melgaard, I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society, 2009, Peters-Messer Collection @ VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2018
Bjarne Melgaard, I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society, 2009, Peters-Messer Collection @ VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2018

The artist Peggy Buth is represented with a video work that gives visual expression to failed utopias in an impressive manner. “Demolition Flats” shows the tearing-down of apartment buildings on the periphery of Paris, where in the 1960s immigrants from North Africa were supposed to find, if not a paradise, at least a new homeland. The districts fallen into such disrepute were compelled, along with the persons living in them, to give way to other projects of urban planning.

In his disturbing photographic series “World of Warfare,” Julian Röder shows how with its military, death-bringing equipment, the armaments trade fair in Abu Dhabi is staged with effective audience impact. The portraits of the South African artist Pieter Hugo constitute a sharp and thought-provoking contrast. These are portraits of young men at the notorious Agbogbloshie Market in Ghana’s capital Accra – a terrifying expanse of debris upon which waste products from the electronics industry are recycled under the worst possible health conditions.

Yvon Chabrowski, Territory - view 1, 2016, Peters-Messer Collection @ VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2018
Yvon Chabrowski, Territory - view 1, 2016, Peters-Messer Collection @ VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2018

It is with mixed feelings that one views the two-part video projection by the artist Yvon Chabrowski. Countless persons dressed in gray may be seen. Mutely silent and crowded together, they move alongside and directly upon each other. A seemingly peaceful convocation which, however, is often disturbed, inasmuch as it is necessary to forcefully assert one’s position. An image with long-enduring impact, because the question indeed arises as to how and under what conditions a successful cohabitation can be organized with respect not only to the individual, but also to the community. 


  •  „Die Ausstellung What Paradise? wirkt nach und regt zum Nachdenken an. Sie geht nahe und hinterlässt ihre Spuren […].“ Alexandra Knief, WESER-KURIER
  •  „Thematisch überwiegt Sperriges, Kunst die polarisiert, die Tabus aufgreift und die Grenzen des ‚guten Geschmacks‘ überschreitet.“ Jörg Restorff, KUNSTZEITUNG
  • „Der Gang durch What Paradise? ist ein Weg zu den Brennpunkten unserer Zeit, mit Kunst, die sich nicht in der Selbstreferentialität aufhält und dennoch formal-medial zu überzeugen weiß.“ Rainer Beßling, artline>kunstmagazin
  • „Werke […], die sich den gesellschaftlichen Realitäten widmen, vor denen manch eine/r gerne die Augen verschließen würde.“ Frank Schümann – Bremer museumszeit
Achim Riethmann, MH01, 2016, Peters-Messer Collection
Achim Riethmann, MH01, 2016, Peters-Messer Collection


Kader Attia, Viktoria Binschtok, Peggy Buth, Yvon Chabrowski, Arash Hanaei, Jonathan Hernández, Thomas Hirschhorn, Pieter Hugo, Sven Johne, Jon Kessler, Douglas Kolk, Bjarne Melgaard, Thomas Rentmeister, Achim Riethmann, Julian Röder, Tom Sachs, Santiago Sierra, Kon Trubkovich, Susan Turcot.

With generous support from the Museumsfreunde Weserburg

New Exhibition Format

With the exhibition series “Young Collections,” the Weserburg is positioning itself as an innovative and lively site for contemporary art amid the museum landscape throughout the Federal Republic. Offered to view are young, private collections that have not previously been presented to the public in this form. The exhibition format was begun in 2014 and can meanwhile look back on a successful development.  These collections first in the process of being developed allow the Weserburg to convey exciting insights into what moves younger generations. At the same time, as a “collectors' museum,” the Weserburg is creating a new profile for itself with regard to its own future.

An auspicious start was made with the Hamburg collection of Dominic and Cordula Sohst-Brennenstuhl in the exhibition “Young Collections 01. Zero-Point of All Sites,” followed by the von Kelterborn Collection from Frankfurt am Main with “Young Collections 02. Come and See,” then by the Berlin collector Ivo Wessel with “Young Collections 03. The space between the characters can carry the load,” and last but not least Christian Kaspar Schwarm with “Young Collections 04. The Vague Space.” 


Saturday, September 22, 2018, 7 pm. Admission is free. The collector as well as several artists of the exhibition are expected.

Besondere Empfehlung

Sammlung Peters-Messer in Berlin!
Bereits am Vorabend, den 21. September, 18 - 21 Uhr, eröffnet im Salon Dahlmann in Berlin eine weitere Ausstellung mit der Sammlung Peters-Messer, dort im Dialog mit ausgewählten Werken der Miettinen Collection: "Ich bin ein Riss, ich will durch Wände gehen. Sammlung Peters-Messer und Miettinen Collection" 22. September - 15. Dezember 2018. Salon Dahlmann Marburger Straße 3 D - 10789 Berlin. Kontakt: +49 30 88 72 56 83, www.salon-dahlmann.de


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