The Ludwig Collection consists of several thousand objects and gathers together art from many continents and epochs. The idea of “world art” was the inspiration. After beginning with classic antiquities and medieval art, the commitment to contemporary art started in the late 1950s. Initially focusing on Germany and France, attention turned to the USA with the acquisition of a work by Tom Wesselmann in 1967. Soon after the perspective was broadened again: while the USA and Western Europe remained firmly in view, interest in art from East Germany, the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and Latin America grew. Decisive was a concept of art that did not distinguish normatively between “high” and “low”, “applied” and “fine” art, or between “West” and “East”. Today the Collection’s holdings are to be found in 26 public museums as donations or permanent loans.
Here key individual works from the Collection are presented in detail
For the 10th Berlin Biennale the seldom seen work La Consagración (The Consecration) by the Cuban artist Belkis Ayón Manso was transported from St Petersburg to the German capital. Here the large-scale triptych was presented at the prominent venue of the Academy of the Arts until 9 September. In her works Ayón focused on the Afro-Cuban secret society of the Abakúa. Exclusively male, the religion of this society merges African myths with Catholic beliefs. Ayón recreates the myths by giving the feminine a key role, thus simultaneously questioning the society’s rules. La Consagración is clearly inspired by the secretive and mythical atmosphere surrounding the Abakúa, without however depicting a specific legend. Ayón created the monotypes from 1991 for an exhibition at St Barbara’s Parish Church in Breinig, located near Aachen. The work was acquired by Peter and Irene Ludwig and was sent as a gift to the Ludwig Museum in St Petersburg’s Russian Museum in 1995.