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A Message of Harmony Delivered by Käthe Kollwitz from Jeju in an Age of Hate
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승인 2021.10.25  16:25:02
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▲ Image = Podo Museum

A young woman sits on a desk under a light and looks straight ahead. She looks physically weak, but appears to have a strong sense of identity. But the face in the portrait 40 years later since then at the age of 70 is completely different. It is smeared with the tenacity of the ‘fighter artist’ who braved the world while overcoming years of hardships. What happened during this time?

▲ Image = Podo Museum

It would be a good idea to begin the tour of the Kathe Kollwitz exhibition ‘It is spring, My son,’ which was unveiled in commemoration of the reopening of the Podo Museum after completing remodeling in April, by examining the life of the German folk print artist and sculptor Kathe Kollwitz (1863-1945) through the two portraits that have completely contrasting feelings weighing its impact on the art world.

“Your son was killed in action.”

▲ Image = Podo Museum

Her second son Peter enlisted to the army at the age of 18 to fight in World War I. But just one month later, she received a letter about his death. “I covered things belonging to you with a cloth. (omitted) On the white sheet is some white birch. By your bed. It is spring, My Son.”

The exhibited was titled from what Kollwitz said to herself after receiving the letter of her son’s death. Since then, she produced a ‘war’ print series and became synonymous with mothers who oppose war.

While studying at an art school for women in Berlin, Kollwitz was influenced by Max Klinger and took the path of becoming a print artist. She saw a performance of Gerhart Hauptmann’s ‘The Weavers’ that premiered in 1893 from which she gained inspiration to begin the six works of ‘The Weaver’s Revolt until 1897. She then further developed her theme to the ‘Peasant War’ cycle. Her art world in which she filled her cycles on socialist themes such as laborers, farmers, and poverty in expressionism techniques then expanded to pacificism after experiencing the death of her son.

▲ Image = Podo Museum

This was organized as a part of the Podo Museum’s opening exhibition, ‘The World We Made.’ The exhibition was planned by the T&C Foundation that was founded in 2017. It engages in various projects such as exhibitions, publications, performances, etc. based on the theme of APoV (Another Point of View) that symbolizes understanding and toleration for ‘other ideas.’ This exhibition is part of this ongoing project. In today’s reality where fake news and distorted information encourages bias and hate while leaving behind evil and pain for humanity, Kollwitz was invited to this special exhibition to convey a message of forgiveness and harmony to overcome such malice. Kollwitz does not report on the tragedy of battle sites.

▲ Image = Podo Museum

Instead, she expresses a mother happily holding children, death that take away children, and the pains and sufferings who are left behind such a widow who passes out after losing her husband as her way to report about the evils of war. And this is more effective in strike a chord with its viewers. It includes 32 prints and one bronze sculpture possessed by the Artmia Foundation in China. It is a rare opportunity to be able to see so many works by Kollwitz all at once in Korea. In addition to war and maternal instinct, a variety of other themes such as gathering of laborers, uprising in the streets, etc. are expressed with her skills with the knife. Its intricate differences can be truly appreciated when seeing it in real life.

The exhibition can be visited through prior booking by March 7 of next year.

[Podo Museum]
Tel. +82-(0)64-794-5115
Opening Hours. 10am - 6pm (Closed on Tuesday)
788, Sallongnam-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
(서귀포시 안덕면 산록남로 788)

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