’Gesamtkunstwerk’ show at Saatchi Gallery, London
He may have used it on only two occasions, but Wagner’s mouthful-of-a-term ’Gesamtkunstwerk’ - most famously expressed in his 1849 ’Art and Revolution’ essay to encourage an interrelation of the arts - has since become a popular moniker for a genre that synthesises art forms such as fashion, design, architecture and art. It is also aptly reflects the scope of the works on show at the Saatchi Gallery’s first ever survey of German art.
’Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany’ focuses on the oeuvres of 24 artists. In typical Saatchi style, the works and their creators, who hail from the likes of Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne and Stuttgart, are still relatively unknown in the UK.
The diversity of German art now is the exhibition’s key talking point. To this end, the body of work on display - from sculpture and installation through to painting and drawing - presents a delightfully rounded picture, from the lyrical to the grotesque.