The Real Thing part 1 (retrospective): Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany

24 February - 18 June 2023
Solo Exhibitions

This landmark exhibition will combine old, modern and contemporary masters across two major institutions in Germany: the Sprengel Museum and Landesmuseum Hanover. Glenn Brown will reimagine the permanent collections of both, generating a conversation around contemporary and historic art that is both evocative and enlightening.

The exhibition at the Sprengel Museum will consist of two parts: a solo exhibition of works by Glenn Brown in the main room and thematic interventions in the permanent collection rooms. Formative paintings by Brown, such as Jesus; The Living Dead (after ‘Jupiter Cloudscape’ 1982 by Adolf Schaller), (1998) will be displayed alongside more recent works, including On the Way to the Leisure Centre (2017) and Black Ships Ate the Sky (2020), presenting a range of techniques and subjects. The museum holds one of the most significant collections of modern art in Germany, with an international focus, divided according to different focal points. Brown will replace a selection of the works currently on view with works of his own, such as The Real Thing (2000), using categories including colour, material, realities and faces, to provide a narrative and a structure.

The exhibition at the Landesmuseum will likewise present works from the collection, which features paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, alongside paintings, drawings and sculptures by Brown, including Reproduction (2014) and Poor Art (2016). Additional loans will feature from the Sprengel Museum.

Alongside key influences such as Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651), Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) and Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), the artist has also chosen works that he admires by German landscape painters such as Gustav Hausmann (1827-1899) and Theodore Kotsch (1818-1884). The many great and lesser-known works in the museum speak to the artist’s main preoccupations and themes. These will be represented through six curatorial groups, which comprise: animals, landscapes and trees, the nude, portraits, still life and the artist. Further highlights include works by Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1557), Bartholomeus Spranger (1546-1611) and Lovis Corinth (1858-1925), which explore the human figure, as well as portraits by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) and Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907).

With Glenn Brown acting as both artist and curator, the dual projects will highlight not only the historical depth of each collection, but their contemporary relevance, as old and new masters connect and collide.