The fact that the Kunstmuseum Bonn has put a focus on the discussion of painting was one of the reasons why the museum was chosen to present the Award of the Dieter Krieg Foundation 2019. The award is endowed with prize money of € 15,000 which is intended to finance the purchase of a painting. The Kunstmuseum has decided to acquire a painting by Berlin-based painter Monika Baer, which will be presented to the public on the occasion of a small exhibition about the artist.
Monika Baer, who was born in Freiburg in 1964 and studied under Alfonso Hüppi at the art academy in Düsseldorf, is no stranger in Bonn: In 1998, the artist received the Peter Mertes Scholarhsip at the Bonner Kunstverein. Back then her works, however, were very different formally from her newest works. Her paintings of the 1990s, which the show in Bonn begins with, display a very narrative pictorial language. The work Set 4 (1995) for example takes the observer into a fairytale-like world, a setting in which wondrous things may happen. The narrative quality of her works might suggest that the artist wouldn't place great value on the formal quality of her paintings, but in fact the contrary is true. In her newer paintings she even seems to have put a focus on formality and one might too easily regard her paintings that are kept in yellow hues as monochromatic. But the fixtures that hold the works to the wall imply a very different kind of figurativeness. This objectuality connects Monika Baer's art to three-dimensional reality while suggesting that even highly pathetic abstraction can turn into a mobile and marketable product which is presented in one place today and another tomorrow. Bear's art thus carries social implications: Her art denies itself simple categorizations, even when her subtle color painting turns into tears made of rigid foam applied to the canvas. They lend the seemingly neutral painting emotion and physicality; qualities that the self-reflective form of painting had lost for a long time.