The Message exhibition was held at the Kunstmuseum Bochum 16th February to 13th April 2008.

Painting and drawing as dictated to by external powers, impelled by voices from another world, creating in a trance – nothing would seem to correspond less to our conventional image of an artist, self-reflective and thoughtfully considering artistic means, than this vision of compulsive crea-tion. Mediumistic Art, the long-time working title of an exhibition project presented to us by Claudia Dichter, Michael Krajewski, and Susanne Zander, is not an art historical category covering firmly defined characteristics, but more like a conglomerate made up of manifold psychological, social, and artistic conditions which find their unique manifestation in each respective work.

New scientific investigations identify biochemical, medical, and psychological causes for the hearing of inner voices and furnish rational explanations for commands issued from a purportedly other world for which up to now adherents of esoteric and occult doctrines have felt responsible. In defiance of all scientific disenchantment however, a robust persistence and fascination cling to the fantastic visual creations and imaginative richness of the mediums and they have found a considerable echo in modern and contemporary art. Ultimately though, the meanwhile trivialized notion of the artist as genius lingers in such connections. In alchemy, always an important source for artists, we find formulations like “with a divine afflatus no one becomes a great man.” Albrecht Dürer spoke in this tenor of “superior pouring ins,” and Sigmar Polke positions himself in the same tradition – ironically? – with his 1968 portfolio Sigmar Polke … Höhere Wesen befehlen. Surrealism, or more particularly its intellectual mentor André Breton, sought in the art of the mediums a fundament for his theory of the marvelous and the Surrealist techniques of automatism.

One of Madge Gill’s works from the exhibition.

The exhibition is accompanies by a comprehensive catalogue published by Walther Konig ISBN 978-865560-342-5

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