German Expressionists and their Contemporaries 

September 24, 2016 to January 22, 2017

This fall, Regina plays host to the Caligari Project, a city-wide arts festival, public celebration and creative exploration of German Expressionism in its many forms. The project takes its name from classic silent horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), which fuses a dark story of tyrannical authority with a graphic, distorted style. As its contribution, the MacKenzie Art Gallery is proud to present German Expressionists and their Contemporaries, an exhibition of over forty graphic works drawn from the Gallery’s small, but significant holdings, supplemented by works from the Winnipeg Art Gallery, selected by Andrew Kear, Curator of Historical Canadian Art. Included in the exhibition are prints by key figures—Max Beckmann, Käthe Kollwitz, Franz Marc, Egon Schiele, among others—representatives of a movement which transformed Europe’s angst in the first decades of the twentieth century into images filled with longing for alternatives to a decaying aesthetic and social order.

The term “Expressionism,” as it was applied to visual art in the early 20th century, came to define a number of outlooks and artistic practices cultivated by individuals and groups working, for the most part, in Dresden, Munich, Berlin, and Vienna before and after World War One. While Expressionist artists shared certain interests and aversions—love for “primitive” Oceanic and African art, for example, as well as a disdain for bourgeois social values—Expressionist artists explored a variety of complicated and sometimes contradictory themes. Contrasts between freedom and restraint, the individual and the masses, and idealism and anarchy populate Expressionist imagery. Such disparities perfectly encapsulate the tempestuous mood of a period marked by social upheaval and violent conflict. 

As the Caligari Project proves, the creative output of this turbulent period continues to be a source of inspiration for artists, filmmakers, actors, musicians, designers, dancers, and puppeteers. A full listing of activities is available at www.caligari.ca, including programs by Articulate Ink Press Inc., Curtain Razors, Dunlop Art Gallery, FadaDance, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Mispon, New Dance Horizons, Prairie Puppet Underground, Regina Symphony Orchestra, RPL Film Theatre, Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, Saskatchewan Printmakers Association, and the University of Regina’s Faculty of Media+Art+Performance.

Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery in collaboration with the Caligari project, with the support of Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board, City of Regina and University of Regina.

Max Beckmann ,Self-Portrait, 1922, woodcut on paper, 52.3 x 41 cm. MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection. © Estate of Max Beckmann / SODRAC (2016). Photo: Don Hall.

Käthe Kollwitz, Frau mit übereinander gelegten Händen (Woman with Folded Hands), 1898, etching and roulette with aquatint on wove paper, edition 35/50, 48.5 x 37 cm. MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection. Photo: Don Hall