The project

"I am here!" On show are 140 works by 100 artists from six centuries – a richly diverse panorama of self-portraiture in old and new media, from the intimate drawing to the selfie going viral on the World Wide Web, from Palma Vecchio to Ai Weiwei. Three European museums – the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, and Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe – have joined forces to produce this trinational art event. The project "I am here. European faces" has received generous support from the EU as part of the Creative Europe programme – managed by the EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency). Creative Europe is the new programme launched by the European Union for the cultural and creative sector in Europe for the period 2014 to 2020.

 

 

The exhibitions in Karlsruhe, Lyon, and Edinburgh will adopt different strategies in approaching this theme, as reflected in their slightly varying choice of exhibition titles. The curatorial perspectives on the combined works and the architectural settings of the displays will naturally vary from country to country, each time opening up new facets and interpretations of the exhibition for visitors. This website combines all three variations of the exhibition in one place, in German, English, and French.

Pia Müller-Tamm

Director
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

„As the first stage in the European joint Project 'I am here!', let me say a warm welcome to visitors to this website and the exhibition in Karlsruhe! With our partners in Lyon and Edinburgh, we’re opening up a fascinating panorama of self-portraits – showing 500 years of creative Europe. Get involved in the exhibition in your country through the FLICK_EU art project and become part of a European portrait gallery.”

Sylvie Ramond

Conservator in chief
Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon

„Welcome to all!
Dear visitors,
We are very happy to join our collections and present you the travelling project 'I am here!'. We hope you will enjoy discovering the diverse works of art coming from our three museums across Europe, united for this exhibition. See you soon in Lyon, after its first venue in Karlsruhe.”

Sir John Leighton

Director General
National Galleries of Scotland

„The National Galleries of Scotland are very excited to be a partner in the Creative Europe project: 'I am here. European Faces'. We look forward to exploring artistic identity through the collections of the three partner countries in the forthcoming exhibition when it comes to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh in summer 2016.”


The museums

Three partners in Karlsruhe, Lyon, and Edinburgh present the travelling exhibition, "I am here!": three museum institutions that were among the earliest of their kind to be founded in their respective countries, in the 19th century. All three collect art in all media, ranging from the early modern period to the present. All three collections boast seminal works of European art history, as well as lesser-known works by locally active artists.

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Presiding over three buildings on Hans-Thoma-Straße – the main building, the Junge Kunsthalle, and the Orangerie – the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe is one of Germany’s largest and most historical art museums.

Opened in 1846, the Kunsthalle is one of the few art museums to be largely preserved in its original form and with its original interiors. The main building and the Orangerie feature 800 works from the Late Middle Ages up to the present day, while the Junge Kunsthalle houses exhibitions especially designed for children and young people.

The Junge Kunsthalle presents rotating exhibitions designed especially for children and young people. It directly engages their aesthetic and creative potential, promotes fun in learning, and fosters the independent and unimpeded engagement with art and the museum as a place of learning and leisure.

Our museum’s mission is not only to preserve seven centuries of European art history, but also to engage in a contemporary dialogue with the collection and its discriminating expansion.

www.kunsthalle-karlsruhe.de

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

Founded in 1801, the Fine Arts Museum of Lyon is housed within the walls of a majestic Benedictine abbey, which was built in the second half of the 17th century. A four-sided construction, the museum surrounds cloisters and a peaceful garden featuring sculptures by Rodin, Bourdelle and others.

The 7000 m² museum has 70 exhibition rooms which are home to outstanding collections of antique art from Egypt, the Near and Middle East to Greece and Rome, art objects from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, coins and medals from antiquity to the present day, sculptures by Chinard, Canova, Pradier and others as well as graphic arts and classical paintings, including works by Perugino, Veronese, Rubens and Rembrandt, impressionists such as Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin, and modernists, most notably Picasso, Chagall, Matisse and Soulages.

The Fine Arts museum of Lyon organises major international exhibitions throughout the year as well as cultural activities for all audience groups.

www.mba-lyon.fr

National Galleries of Scotland

The National Galleries of Scotland is one of the most important museum groups in Europe.

Based in Edinburgh, its collection is divided into three major groupings: the Scottish National Gallery, with its outstanding collection of European painting from the Renaissance to post-Impressionism; the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, with a strong and deliberate focus on Scottish portraiture and Scottish portrait photography that allows visitors to trace the history of the country through portraits and cultural-historical objects; and, thirdly, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, a gallery of Scottish and international art dating from 1900 onwards, notable for the strength of its collection of Dada and Surrealist art.

Each of the three museums has its own building dedicated to it and is known for holding internationally renowned exhibitions.  

www.nationalgalleries.org


Interview with the curators from Karlsruhe, Lyon, and Edinburgh on the exhibition project ‘I am here’

Dorit Schäfer

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Stéphane Paccoud

The Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon

Imogen Gibbon

National Galleries of Scotland

Each collection - from Karlsruhe, Lyon, and Edinburgh - is making a distinct contribution to the project. In what way?

Dorit Schäfer, Karlsruhe: The Kunsthalle Karlsruhe is strongly represented with wonderful Netherlandish paintings from the 17th century. For the Romantic period we can expect several outstanding self-portraits that are striking for their sensitivity and intensity of expression, such as the double portrait of the Winterhalter Brothers or Anselm Feuerbach’s portrait of himself as a young man. Finally, we are providing several important works representative of the Neue Sachlichkeit or New Objectivity, a movement in fact closely associated with the city of Karlsruhe. Artists such as Georg Scholz, Wilhelm Schnarrenberger, and Karl Hubbuch captivate the eye with the cool precision of their painting. On show in Lyon and Edinburgh, their works will shed fresh light on German modern art, whose full scope has still not been quite realized abroad.

Stéphane Paccoud, Lyon: The selection of self-portraits from Lyon consists of mainly ancient and 19th century artworks. The museum of Fine Arts hosts one of the richest collections of 19th century art in France, and many artists from the Lyon school, which was one of the most important at this time, are represented in the exhibition. For instance, the self-portrait chosen for the poster of the exhibition at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe was painted by Louis Janmot. The artist was Ingres’ pupil, and only 18 years old when he painted this portrait, in 1832. This work has recently been acquired by the museum of Fine Arts, and is a characteristic example of the Lyon school.

Imogen Gibbon, Edinburgh: Paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, collage and sculpture from the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) all feature in the exhibition. The earliest work is dated 1510 and the most recent artwork was made in 2012. To illustrate the wide range of works on display, the former is a black chalk drawing by the Italian artist Palma Vecchio – one of the most innovative and original painters in early sixteenth-century Venice. The latter is by Angela Palmer and is called Brain of the Artist. This is a sculpture and is based on MRI scans taken of the artist’s brain, engraved on sixteen sheets of glass to create a three-dimensional image which appears to float in a glass chamber.

What were the special challenges in getting this project off the ground? Were there any surprises?

Dorit Schäfer, Karlsruhe: Working with colleagues from Edinburgh and Lyon was highly interesting, because it revealed different ways of working and sometimes different perspectives on the art. Visitors to the exhibition will get to encounter artists rarely represented in exhibitions in this country. For example: Louis Janmot’s incredibly penetrating portrait of the artist as a young man or the bizarre self-portrait of Jean Baptiste Frénet, who portrays his head melded on the muscular body of a nude from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The exhibition has also expanded our horizon when it comes to contemporary British art, by featuring paintings by John Patrick Byrne, Ken Currie, and Alison Watt—artists working outside the recognized mainstream of international contemporary art.

Stéphane Paccoud, Lyon: What we have found very exciting is the professional interaction with our European counterparts and the exploration of practices that lie at the root of this common project between our three institutions. Comparing one another’s work habits and sharing knowledge in a European context have led to this first exhibition and to the discovery of lesser-known artists from each of our three museums’ collections—discoveries soon to be shared with our visitors.

Imogen Gibbon, Edinburgh: Turning a long list of self-portraits into a final short list! There are around 400 self-portraits in the National Galleries of Scotland collection - the final number of portraits from the collection which feature in the exhibition are around 50.

The visitors in Karlsruhe, Lyon, and Edinburgh are supposed to participate in the project - why is that important for this exhibition?

Dorit Schäfer, Karlsruhe: Nowadays, in the age of the selfie, it isn’t just artists who contemplate the question of self-depiction. It seemed imperative to us to use the exhibits to get the visitors directly involved in our exhibition. And the Flick_EU and Flick_EU Mirror project is a perfect example of that. With a photo booth installed in the exhibition, visitors can make a portrait of themselves and become part of the exhibition when it goes on show in all three cities. This interactive side-project within the exhibition opens up questions on the role of the individual, the urge to capture one’s self-image, and the dissolution of the individual in masses and masses of digital images. The flood of selfies and self-portrait poses which threatens to overwhelm us on social networks can, however, also sharpen our senses in gauging the special qualities of the ‘historical’ self-portraits.

Stéphane Paccoud, Lyon: The theme of the self-portrait has a very broad appeal in present-day culture, with the selfie becoming a contemporary habit. The exhibition contextualizes this concept in past periods of the history of art and provides new perspectives on the question of the self and its visual representation. Both actual visitors to the exhibition and a virtual audience (online and/or via social media) can participate, either by sending in their own selfies and pictures or being part of the installation developed by the ZKM. This active participation enriches the content of the exhibition and enhances the visiting experience, and the audience’s personal relationship with the three museums involved in this common project is strengthened as a result.

Imogen Gibbon, Edinburgh: The self-portrait naturally creates questions for the viewer - by participating in the exhibition, through the creation of their own photographic self-portrait, visitors will engage with these questions and pose answers in the same manner the artists on display in the exhibition have done. Self-portraits are fluid, in the sense there are no boundaries: born in Antiquity, matured in the Renaissance and familiar today for a myriad of reasons - here is an opportunity for visitors in three countries to place themselves in the next stage of the development of the self-portrait and consider their relationship in the wider world.

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