Opened in December 2005, the MEWO Art Gallery Memmingen presented itself with an avant-garde, self-contained profile amidst museums in Germany. From the outside, the art gallery looks neo-classical and stately. However, on the inside, the carefully renovated former royal post office building dating from the 19th century has a modern, light ambience. Rooms that are ideal for exhibitions – arranged around an atrium – also offer an excellent presentation medium for unusual exhibitions and event concepts.
The curator of the art gallery, Professor Joseph Kiermeier-Debre, and the head of the Cultural Office, Dr. Hans-Wolfgang Bayer have up to now impressed visitors with an ambitious programme as well as with the basic collection of works of art by south German artists of the 19th and 20th century. The opening collection featured Josef Madlener – an often neglected artist in German art history. Madlener was a sensitive artist, who cannot be classified easily, he interwove neo-romantic, surreal and traditional concepts to an independent language of shape and colour.
It is not the usual programme of widely-know artists that the two curators have written on the flags of the art gallery. It is courageous and unusual concepts that they want to generate. Apart from paintings, there are also graphics, photography and sculpture exhibitions to be seen in the MEWO Art Gallery. There are no restrictions as far as style is concerned. New-generation art – such as the China exhibition – is displayed, as are exquisite graphic objects dating from the 18 century from the Prestel collection, which were shown in 2008.
The MEWO Art Gallery’s aim is not so much to show a stylistic movement but rather to convey unusual perspectives and new approaches. “The building is not supposed to be an illustrious temple of the muses with fine art on a reverential base,” the curators say. It should be a place of contact and encounter that also offers a forum for new forms of art. With its soirees, readings and theme evenings in which fine art, music and theatre are combined, the art gallery offers a comprehensive programme in addition to exhibitions.
In its first year, the MEWO art gallery laid a solid foundation. It does not want to concentrate on local art alone, but rather assert itself beyond the region as an independent, one-of-a-kind art institute.