«Leve de Schilderkunst!»

Kunsthal Rotterdam

17.02.2007 — 06.05.2007

The ‘Leve de Schilderkunst!’ (‘Painting Now!’) exhibition at the Kunsthal Rotterdam is the first large-scale retrospective of contemporary painting in the 21st century.

Presenting the work of more than eighty artists, this internationally compiled exhibition shows the current state of painting, focusing on the human figure. The selection of artists is the first to bring together different generations, with as a common element that all paintings were made after the year 2000. Both well-known masters and young painters are on display in the Kunsthal’s spacious daylight gallery, including Lucian Freud, Alex Katz, Eric Fischl, John Currin, Wilhelm Sasnal and representatives of the Leipziger Schule such as Neo Rauch and Axel Krause. Dutch artists are widely represented and include Marlene Dumas, Philip Akkerman, Jan Worst, Kiki Lamers, Co Westerik, Michael Raedecker and many others.

The figure revisited

The last few years have seen a renewed interest in painting that has a predilection for realism. The prices paid for figurative painting in today’s art market are undergoing a phenomenal upsurge. This prompted the Kunsthal to organise an exhibition focusing on the representation of the human figure. There is no age limit for artists who use this theme in response to feelings of insecurity in contemporary society. The slow medium of painting offers them new perspectives to express themselves in a time of rapid digital developments. Without presuming to be complete, Painting Now! presents a broad overview of contemporary painting, creating a dialogue between various generations of artists based on what may be the most popular theme in Western art: the human figure.

The photographic view

Many paintings in the exhibition show a photographic view that scans or confronts the human body or places it in a specific context. The fact that the images are painted only serves to render the confrontation with the person in the painting more intense – from the pornographic view in Lucian Freud’s work, the ironic view of John Currin and the psychological view of Philip Akkerman to the vulnerability of Marlene Dumas or the intimacy in Delia Brown’s paintings.
The exhibition in the Kunsthal is an expanded version of the successful exposition Malerei der Gegenwart, which was on display in the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich and in the Museum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf, Switzerland. After Rotterdam, the exhibition will travel to KunstHausWien in Vienna.


The exhibition is accompanied by a publication of the same name by Veenman Publishers.