The loop is omnipresent—whether in music, video art or hotel lobbies and living rooms, where continually flickering open fires or aquariums with ceaselessly darting fish are displayed on monitors… The self-contained circuit, the endless loop, has moreover been a topos in the areas of cultural history, alchemy, and philosophy since classical antiquity at the latest.
With “Never Ending Stories,” the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg presents the first extensive examination of the loop phenomenon in art, film, architecture, music, literature and cultural history, taking a comprehensive interdisciplinary look at the subject as regards time and place as well as form and content. Cyclicality in self-contained systems can be traced from the Ancient Egyptian serpent Ouroboros that devours its own tail to contemporary multimedia installations, significantly designating both dream and trauma in the human psyche. The parcours architectural developed especially for the great hall in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg enables numerous mental rotations as well as spatial-physical looping experiences.
Adel Abdessemed, Abramovic/Ulay, Francis Alÿs, Robert Barta, Thomas Bayrle, Max Beckmann, Joseph Beuys, Michel Blazy, Etienne-Louis Boullée, Marcel Broodthaers, Julio Cortázar, Jan Dibbets, Marcel Duchamp, Thomas A. Edison, Omer Fast, Léon Ferrari, Sandra Filic, Robert Filiou, Fischli/Weiss, Robert Fludd, Douglas Gordon, Rodney Graham, Max Grau, Anton Henning, Seikô Hirata, James Joyce, William Kentridge, Ragnar Kjartansson, Kraftwerk, Yayoi Kusama, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Müller, Juan Muñoz, Eadweard Muybridge, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Barbara Probst, Markus Raetz, Bridget Riley, Peter Roehr, Raymond Roussel, Gregor Schneider, Richard Serra, Schunsô Shôju, Nedko Solakov, Daniel Spoerri, Gertrude Stein, Roland Topor, Salla Tykkä, Günther Uecker, Andy Warhol and many more.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive scholarly catalogue edited by Ralf Beil that will shed fundamental light on this multifaceted theme. It will feature commentaries on the individual exhibited works along with essays by Jan and Aleida Assmann, Ralf Beil, Norbert Bolz, Claudia Dillmann, Stefan Fricke, Michael Glasmeier, Joachim Kalka, Stefan Klein, Niklas Maak, Peter Sloterdijk and Franziska Stöhr in addition to source texts for example by Étienne-Louis Boullée, Julio Cortázar, and Friedrich Nietzsche.
Dr. Ralf Beil, director of the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, has already successfully realized numerous large-scale interdisciplinary projects, including “A House Full of Music. Strategies in Music and Art” at the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt (2012) and “Wolfsburg Unlimited. A City as World Laboratory” as well as “This Was Tomorrow. Pop Art in Great Britain” at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2016/2017). “Never Ending Stories” continues with themes he already dealt with in his exhibition “Black Box. The Dark Room in Art” at Kunstmuseum Bern (2002), which similarly undertook a creative structural analysis of a parameter of art and life with wide-ranging physical and psychological implications.