Thanks to the Mondriaan Fund, the Bonnefantenmuseum has been able to acquire the monumental artwork Galgenfeld by Paloma Varga Weisz. It is a remarkable addition to the collection, as Varga Weisz made her international breakthrough with Galgenfeld and it forms an early key work and highlight in her oeuvre. The Bonnefantenmuseum is planning a big solo exhibition by Varga Weisz in the autumn of 2019, so this acquisition anticipates the general public’s first acquaintance with the surrealist visual stories of this distinctive artist.
‘The installation Galgenfeld fulfils an essential bridging function between the Maastricht Museum’s important sub-collections of mediaeval religious sculpture and contemporary art. Paloma Varga Weisz links topicality to the heritage of the Euregion, which corresponds well with our focus on the ‘secret canon’. As such, the work makes an exceptional contribution to the museum’s distinctive profile and its role in pointing out connections’, says artistic director Stijn Huijts. The Mondriaan Fund endorses this vision and underlines the excellent match between this autonomous work and the Bonnefantenmuseum’s collection, which focuses on global and regional developments, and links modern and contemporary art to our own heritage. Huijts continues, ‘We are therefore delighted to receive the support of the Mondriaan Fund, which has made it possible for us to add this important artwork to the museum’s collection’.
Paloma Varga Weisz
Paloma Varga Weisz (1966) grew up in Mannheim, Germany. Following three years of training in the craft of woodcarving in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Varga Weisz went on to study at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the early nineties. There, she felt obliged to renounce her craft training, but following a personal crisis it was the radical conceptual artist Gerhard Merz who encouraged her to understand the past. She became interested in religious paintings of the early Renaissance, by artists like Lucas Cranach and Hans Holbein the Younger – not for their religious or emotional overtones, but for their atmosphere and expression, the temperature of their use of colour and their melancholy.
Varga Weisz made mainly small-scale woodcarvings until 2003, when she developed the monumentalGalgenfeld, which was exhibited at her first museum solo in Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Germany, in 2004. The presentation of the work one year later in the Arsenale at the Venice Biennale marked her international breakthrough. She has since had various international solo and group exhibitions.
Top Image: Paloma Varga Weisz, Galgenfeld (2003-2004), presented in Museum Kurhaus Kleve in 2004