Transgressive ideals

07 Mar 2011

Two artistic icons announce their first ever collaboration

Stella & Calatrava: The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain is a unique collaborative project between world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and painter Frank Stella, to be held at the New National Gallery in Berlin.

In this rare moment of cross-disciplinary unification between two iconic practitioners, one of Stella's monumental paintings, transformed into a 98 ft mural, will be surrounded by a suspended steel sculpture designed by Calatrava.

While both Stella and Calatrava have previously had their boundary-pushing work exhibited as part of the same series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York - Painting into Architecture and Sculpture into Architecture respectively - this is the first time that the two have joined forces to work on something that unites their artistic visions.

Calatrava, born in Valencia, Spain in 1951, approached Stella with the idea of this project, which is dedicated to Heinrich von Kleist's novel Michael Kohlhaas to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the author's death.

Calatrava and Stella have always been inspired by each other's work, and The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain reflects their shared belief that there are no barriers between different artistic disciplines - that painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, dance and film are all interchangeable products of creativity.

A spokesperson from the gallery reveals that the installation, which is currently under construction, will be ‘suspended from the ceiling in order to convey a complex spatial experience, while providing an unobstructed view from all angles'.

Stella, born in Massachusetts, USA in 1936, was influenced by Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock in his youth, before developing his own transgressive approach to painting. The interplay between geometric shapes and experimental compositions in his work began to achieve a real sense of three-dimensionality as it slowly crossed the border from deep-relief paintings to free-standing architectural sculptures; when the representation of the object became the object itself.

Stella & Calatrava: The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain exhibition will make its world debut at a grand opening on Thursday 14 April 2011 at the New National Gallery in Berlin and remain on public display until Sunday 14 August 2011.

Amy Knight
Arts & Media Correspondent

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