I want to cultivate the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown. ~Kathe Kollwitz
After spending the summer in Berlin and learning more and more about Kathe Kollwitz I’ve been searching in vain for anywhere in London that shows some of her work. But for a short time only you can see one image at the Wellcome Trust’s “Death, A Self portrait” which explores Richard Harris’ collection of death related artwork.
It can be difficult going to exhibitions like this one where the subject matter and types of images can be quite similar without having some focus before you go and so knowing more of the background history of at least one image on display can help to add context.
So for me hunting out the Kathe Kollwitz piece was a great starting point. Kathe Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945) was an artist who spent most of her life in Berlin; she took the pain from the loss of her son in WWI and grandson in WWII, along with the agony of war and destruction she saw through her life and poured this into her work, with startling images of grieving mothers, widows and hungry children. And in this exhibition you see a woman being ravished by death with a child clinging on to her, a woman struggling between death and her child, or perhaps a mother struggling with the death and darkness all around her as she tries to be there for her child.
For more on Kathe Kollwitz try http://theexhibitionlist.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/kathe-kollwitz-museum-berlin-germany/
For more on Richard Harris’ collection see: http://www.richardharrisartcollection.com/richard-harris/
For more on the Wellcome Collection see: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/