The last few weeks were hard and intense, but now that the exhibition in the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing – his first solo exhibition in China – is open, Andreas Mühe is visibly relieved. “Photography lives from changes of perspective. In that sense, the journey to Beijing is doubly rewarding,” says the 38-year-old, who has played a major role in shaping the “collective German visual memory” (DIE WELT) of post-reunification Germany with his socio-politically inspired works. The Red Brick Art Museum is a very exciting place for him – both architecturally and in terms of content. Having a cross-section of his work on view there now is, for him, “a great honor. I am very curious to know what response the Chinese public will have to the works.”
Around 70 Mühe photographs can be seen in China’s capital as of this week – a special moment in the life of the Chemnitz-born photographer. And also a special day for the Volkswagen Group, which has been accompanying Andreas Mühe’s work as a partner for years and which is also the main sponsor for this exhibition. The opening formed the start of a series of events, as varied as they were unusual, through which Volkswagen is underpinning its special commitment to China’s contemporary culture this week.
Art x Tech
A further highlight was provided by the half-day conference “Art x Tech – An Imagination Dialogue”, in which musicians, designers and visionaries, together with experts from the “Karajan Music Tech Conference” of the Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen Group Future Center Asia, discussed the role of sound in the mobility of tomorrow. The illustrious group of participants – including Tim Renner (motor music), Clemens Trautmann (Deutsche Grammophon) and Matthias Röder (head of the Karajan Institute in Salzburg) – exchanged the latest audio trends in the presence of the head of Volkswagen China, Jochem Heizmann, and together developed solutions for integrating sonic worlds into the mobile user experience – including showcases for virtual reality and autonomous driving. And all this at a location predestined for such think tanks: the Volkswagen Group Future Center Asia, in which the Volkswagen Group has been developing customized mobility solutions for Asia and the world since the spring.
As the finale on Thursday evening, there was a genuine première: Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s largest and most important classical music publisher, brought its successful series “Yellow Lounge” to Asia. In the Mao Livehouse in the young Beijing district of Haidian, the exceptional Chinese clarinetist Wang Tao, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Britain’s Daniel Hope, one of the best violinists in the world and the musical director of the Zurich ensemble, took the stage. There, in a place which usually hosts the most popular rock concerts in China’s capital, they treated the young audience to a new sound experience of “old” and “new,” serious and electronic music. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A major” and other works were supplemented by electronic sounds and video installations in an unusually casual atmosphere for typical classical music fans.
For Volkswagen, this eventful week also reflects the constantly growing commitment with which the Group is supporting China’s social development. With four decades of corporate history in China, Volkswagen has a particularly close connection to this country. Volkswagen Group China now employs more than 90,000 employees at 23 production sites. As well as intensive commitment to environmental protection and the use of new, resource-saving technologies, socio-cultural issues are also on the agenda – including, for example, a recent nationwide campaign for more traffic safety for children, sporting activities for children and adolescents, and broad educational offers for young Chinese people as part of the PACE program. With these initiatives, the Volkswagen Group is strengthening its position as a responsible partner and pioneer of German-Chinese dialogue.
Andreas Mühe has played a substantial part in these endeavors. When Volkswagen Group China presented “Deutschland 8” last year, 320 works of art by 55 German artists were on view in Beijing – attracting over 750,000 visitors and five million social media views. Alongside German art superstars such as Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter and Martin Kippenberger, Andreas Mühe was also represented by several works.