The DuMont Kunsthalle in Cologne was founded in 1988 on the initiative of the publisher Alfred Neven DuMont. DuMont transformed a factory hall on the premises of his publishing house, in which an electronics company had previously produced its goods, into an exhibition venue. In the following years shows such as ‘Video-Skulptur retrospektiv und aktuell. 1963 – 1989’, ‘Balkon mit Fläche’ or ‘Von einer Wellt zu’r andern. Kunst von Außenseitern im Dialog’, were initiated. The very first exhibition ‘Made in Cologne’ was conceived by Klaus Honnef in collaboration with Gabriele Honnef-Harling. They invited Walter Dahn, Leiko Ikemura, Jiří Georg Dokoupil, Isa Genzken, Georg Herold, Martin Kippenberger, Marcel Odenbach, Ulrike Rosenbach, Andreas Schulze, Rosemarie Trockel and many other artists who lived and worked in Cologne at the time.
Inspired by this initial idea of locality, eight young artists from Düsseldorf and Cologne will be shown at Raw. Most of them created new works in direct response to the exhibition context. Today, only the white, straight-lined lettering on the trapezoidal sheet metal façade in washed-out blue reminds us of the former exhibition venue; the interior shows the pure industrial architecture of a previously modern factory. Sea freight containers – open, closed, placed next to each other or stacked up to towers of over seven meters – serve as flexible modules, as a mobile exhibition architecture. The chosen title Raw stands for rough, unpolished, pure – this can be associated with the exhibited works as well as with the DuMont Kunsthalle itself.
The restrictions of a gallery space or an art fair booth are lifted in this exhibition to the extent that predominantly large-format or bulky works are shown such as the sculptures by Michail Pirgelis made of authentic aviation materials or objects of metal with perfect surfaces, some chrome-plated or painted, such as those by Tobias Hoffknecht. Jasmin Werner's sculptures deal intensively with the staircase motif. She installs her works from discarded conveyor belts in dialogue with old transport chutes that belong to the existing architecture. Works in a completely different, almost brittle materiality can also be found in the exhibition. Sami Schlichting creates an installation out of wood, clay and hay in a container.
The positioning and format of the works on canvas in this show break with accustomed viewing habits. On display are paintings by Peppi Bottrop, Anne Haack and David Ostrowski – works that deal with the material itself, its texture and traces. Most of the canvases are untreated – raw. The structure, signs of the working process and the stretching, as well as folds remain visible. The new sound work by Sarah Kürten fills the room and reflects the authentic character of the exhibition atmosphere. A child's voice sounds as if from an old radio and echoes from the container walls into the wide space of the DuMont Kunsthalle.