September 25, 2021 – January 30, 2022

Grand Tour XXL. Emel’ian Korneev – Expedition Artist

    A Grand Tour of Italy was considered essential to an artist’s education until well into the 19th century. Russian artist Emel’ian Mikhailovich Korneev (1780 – after 1839) chose, however, not to stop there. Between 1802 and 1803 he traveled the length and breadth of the Russian Empire on an official expedition mandated by the Tsar, journeying as far as Siberia and its south-eastern border with China. After reaching Crimea, he forged on as far as Constantinople and then through Asia Minor to Greece, at that time under the sway of the Ottoman Empire. He funded his journey from a travel scholarship he had received for a degree from the Academy in St. Petersburg honored by a gold medal. Thus, he was able to travel through Italy in 1805; records further attest to visits to Naples, Ischia, the Phlegraean Fields, Paestum and Tivoli.

    His landscapes reveal the artistic influence of German painter Jakob Philipp Hackert, who was very popular at that time in Russia. Like many French or German artists of Goethe’s day, Korneev documented a vast swath of landscapes and architecture and also repeatedly depicted traditional costumes and folkloric scenes. Korneev was a much better traveled artist than most of his contemporaries and his participation in a circumnavigation of the globe between 1819 and 1821 cemented his reputation as a globetrotter. Unfortunately, his works from this voyage would appear not to have survived. Indeed, his oeuvre was further significantly depleted following a storm tide in St. Petersburg in 1824 that destroyed his studio.

     

    Notwithstanding, Korneev remains a familiar name for many in Russia today, largely due to his published works from the Russian expedition. These appeared in sumptuously illustrated volumes entitled Les Peuples de la Russie, published in Paris in 1812/13 by Count Carl von Rechberg from Bavaria. However, what seems to have escaped notice until now, even in Russia, are two large ensembles of watercolors and drawings that have survived from Korneev’s travels through Greece, Asia Minor and Italy. They are housed in two German institutions. The Münchner Stadtmuseum and its Collection of Prints and Drawings has, since 1926, held fifty exquisite large-format watercolors, along with ink and pencil drawings, from the Italian stretch of his journey. In the same year, what is known as the Greece album entered the holdings of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) in Berlin, which has kindly lent numerous works to the current exhibition.

    The Münchner Stadtmuseum now presents these extraordinarily rare works to the public for the very first time. This show, and the detailed scholarly examination of its contents, which will inform an extensive exhibition catalog, make a significant international contribution to research in this area.


    FORUM 051: Jonathan Danko Kielkowski – The Aesthetics of Failure

    Forum 051 für junge Fotografie presents works by Jonathan Danko Kielkowski (born 1988) that tie in spatially and thematically with “Grand Tour XXL.” Kielkowski’s photographs focus on spaces once defined by extravagant expense and dense populations, and which now lie abandoned, in a process of gradual disintegration. The gallery exhibition presents a representative selection of works from three projects in Italy, Svalbard and Kazakhstan.

    In the “Concordia” series, Kielkowski portrays the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship as a “forsaken pleasure palace.” Architectural details from the ornate décor of its deserted spaces intertwine with signs of destruction and progressive decay to create a backdrop that is both oppressive and aesthetically compelling.

    In remote Svalbard, Kielkowski photographed Pyramiden, a disused mining settlement. Utterly deserted, the spectacular panorama of the mountains, the monumental Socialist architecture, the houses abandoned as if their inhabitants had suddenly fled, and the epic vastness of the landscape are both striking and unreal in equal measure.

    These photographs not only turn a reflective gaze on an era informed by mass tourism, the predatory exploitation of natural resources worldwide and an unfettered faith in progress, they also cast an inquisitive eye on the incommensurably slower processes of decomposition and renaturation. In Kielkowski’s photographs, the uncanny aesthetics of failure that emerge from collapsed industrial and tourist megaprojects invite us to reflect on key issues relating to how human activity impacts the world.


    Plan Your Visit

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    Closed on Mondays

    OpenWednesdayEvening!
    Every 2nd Wednesday of the month selected exhibitions at the Münchner Stadtmuseum are open until 8 pm

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