Published  08/07/2001
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Berlin embraces the sublime

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About the Sublime: Mark Rothko, Yves Klein, James Turrell, Deutsche Guggenheim Museum, 7 July through 7 October 2001.

It is timely that the Deutsche Guggenheim has brought together these three major artists under the banner of the Sublime. Although 2001 might now seem to epitomise the epoch of the Sublime and the Terrible, many opinions vary as to which three artists might best fit the bill. Pre-eminently Rothko qualifies, but then equally does Klein. Their preferences for colour could not be more divergent however. Jim Turrell is the perfect complement to these two, and this reconciliation of opposites is achieved through his work here. The problem with the sublime, whether that of Kant or of Burke, is not only who qualifies on their own merits, but also which work can be shown with which. The problem is the rooting of the term ‘sublime’ within the whole idea of the German romantic movement, and yet at the same time its affiliation with but also its incompatibility with, the ‘picturesque’ as experienced in England. The Guggenheim exhibition manages to balance both tendencies in an enlightened and informed rapprochement.

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