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Gert & Uwe Tobias - Dresden Paraphrases

4 October - 10 November 2012Kupferstich-Kabinett

In recent years, Gert and Uwe Tobias (born 1973) have gained international recognition with their oversized coloured woodcuts and unconventional typewriter drawings.

For the exhibition the artist brothers took on a particular challenge: from the extensive holdings of the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs), they selected unique masterworks of graphic art from past centuries, which they then interpreted and adapted from a contemporary perspective. Gert and Uwe Tobias have created more than 40 popular works of contemporary graphic art, bringing about the artistic dialogue that is the central appeal of the ‘Dresden Paraphrases’.

  • - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.
  • - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.


The artists have drawn from various sources: from the precious mid-15th-century copper engravings by the Master of the Playing Cards; from the expertly rendered Italian chiaroscuro woodcuts by Ugo da Carpi and Antonio Zanetti from the early 16th and 18th centuries; from the magnificent engraved patterns for the Dresden chinoiseries, which date from the early 18th century and, not least of all, from the revolutionarily monochrome panel work (Tafelwerk) by Herman Glöckner from the early 1930s.

The ‘Dresden Paraphrases’ by Gert & Uwe Tobias do not merely describe a cultural transfer between historically ennobled masterworks and a current position in contemporary art. Instead, they open our eyes to a perception of aesthetically parallel worlds that have lost nothing of their presence and their pictorial power. At the same time, the panopticon of these works elicits the viewer to pose probing questions into cultural tolerance and outdated traditional values. The gaze that the exhibition facilitates – a gaze both forward and backward in time – confirms once again the tradition of the world-renowned Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett as a wellspring of this kind of discourse.