50th anniversary sees Goethe Institut – for Anglo-German cultural exchange – throw open its doors to newly renovated premises, and its cash at 2012 blockbuster exhibitions
The historic building in Exhibition Road housing the Goethe-Institut will re-open to the public following extensive restoration on Sunday 20 May 2012, with a specially commissioned installation by German artist Gloria Zein, winner of the 2011 Cass Prize for Sculpture.
This re-opening coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Goethe-Institut. Anniversary celebrations will see a series of special events focusing on contemporary German culture including panel discussions with the artist Tino Sehgal, chosen for the 2012 Unilever commission in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, and an education programme on the Bauhaus, the world’s most influential modern art school, which is the subject of a new exhibition at the Barbican in May.
In addition, the Goethe-Institut is supporting the exhibitions of Thomas Schütte and Hans-Peter Feldmann at the Serpentine Gallery in 2012, and performances by the choreographer Pascal Meringhi at Sadler’s Wells with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.
The Goethe-Institut in London, founded in 1962, was an important milestone in Anglo-German post-war relations. Over the years, the Institute has introduced to British audiences the work of many of Germany’s leading contemporary artists, including Pina Bausch and Gustav Metzger , Gregor Schneider, Thomas Schütte, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky and Ricarda Roggan. Its wide-ranging programme includes British-German encounters in all cultural disciplines including lectures, debates, film screenings and exhibitions, among others. It provides German language classes at all levels, and public access to its unique multi-media library covering all areas of German culture, with a particular focus on contemporary German film and emerging German authors and artists.
Sabine Hentzsch, Director of Goethe-Institut London, said: ‘The Goethe-Institut has been a focus of contemporary German culture in the UK for the past 50 years. I am delighted that we can throw open our doors again to London in this our 50th anniversary year in our newly restored building, to continue the intercultural dialogue with our partners across the UK.’
In addition to the restoration of the existing gallery space and the auditorium for lectures and film screenings, the redevelopment of the building by London based architects, Blauel Architects, includes the creation of a brand new library on the first floor, state of the art classrooms for the 21st century and a ground floor meeting space (opening approx. in autumn 2012).
Follow ArtLyst on Twitter for breaking art news and latest exhibition reviews