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What images do we make of other people? What do they tell us? How do we confront them? How do we position ourselves in relation to them based on their gender, skin color, language, nationality? Menschenbilder (Images of Humanity) brings together photographs of people from all walks of life—from displaced persons in New York after their flight from Europe destroyed by the Second World War to intimate close-ups of Spanish youths in 2020, which draw a portrait of their everyday life, from scenes of interpersonal relationships, carefree chilling, and hopelessness. In between, there are encounters with people which revolve around the themes of identity, migration, gender diversity, Black Lives Matter, and one’s own mortality.

All the photographs, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and a video installation on view in the exhibition have been added to the collection of the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg as acquisitions or donations in 2019 and 2020 and also expand the collection to include further non-European and female positions. The spectrum of the theme of “images of humanity,” which has been a focal point of the collection since the museum's founding, with key works by Christian Boltanski, Beat Streuli, and Cindy Sherman, is thus meaningfully complemented and continued with contemporary works.

Participating artists:
Clemens Kalischer (1921–2018), Antanas Sutkus (b. 1939), Ute Behrend (b. 1961), Anna Malagrida (b. 1970), Christian Keinstar (b. 1975), Robin Rhode (b. 1976), François Jacob (b. 1976), Tejal Shah (b. 1979), Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques (b. 1983), Serge Attukwei Clottey (b. 1985), Otto Piene (1928–2014)

Curator: Holger Broeker

Image : François Jacob, Actrice (Detail), 2007, Oil on Canvas, 130 x 100 cm, Courtesy the artist and Thomas Rehbein Gallery, photo: François Jacob