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Hans Josephsohn

'The Thing has to Live'
16 February – 15 June 2014

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First Time in Hamburg: Swiss Biennale-Artist

Hans Josephsohn (1920–2012) is one of the great lone wolves of twentieth-century art. Unswayed by changing tendencies, the Swiss sculptor created an oeuvre of archaic force and touching delicacy.

Through restricting himself to a few groups of works – reclining and standing figures, half figures, reliefs – Josephsohn attained an enormous freedom. Created in long formation processes, his sculptures seem timeless and yet powerfully present. 'The thing has to live', was how Josephsohn described the aim of his artistic search. 'You have to learn to find a language that is parallel to life, but has its own life.'

Josephsohn's international significance was recently and strikingly underlined at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The Ernst Barlach Haus now shows his sculptures and drawings for the first time in Hamburg. The lenders are Kolumba, Art Museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne, the Mezzanin Art Foundation, Liechtenstein, the Kesselhaus Josephsohn, St. Gallen, and the Klöcker Collection, Bad Homburg.

Patron of the exhibition is Tim Guldimann, Swiss ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.

»You have to learn to find a language that is parallel to life, but has its own life.«

Hans Josephsohn