Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Art lovers probably know his name, because he and three other artists recently received the prestigious Turner Prize 2019, which is considered the most important honor for contemporary art worldwide. People who rarely have contact with modern art have probably never heard of the prizewinner before. As part of Volkswagen ART4ALL, visitors had the opportunity to see his current exhibition at the "Hamburger Bahnhof" in Berlin and to become better acquainted with his works.
And this is exactly what the joint programme of Volkswagen and the Nationalgalerie - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is all about. Everyone is to be given access to art and be able to make their first encounters with works by artists who were previously unknown to them, thus opening up new worlds.
Thanks to Volkswagen ART4ALL, a visit to the Berlin museum "Hamburger Bahnhof" is free of charge on the first Thursday of every month from 4 pm to 8 pm. In order to reach a really large number of people - regardless of their previous experience with art - there is also an interdisciplinary programme of lectures, artist talks, performances and multilingual guided tours, as well as workshops in which adults and children can participate. And of course visitors can also view all current exhibitions and collection presentations.
In April 2018, Volkswagen and the Berlin Museum Association launched this project as part of their comprehensive partnership, in which they have been jointly facilitating innovative activities in the form of exhibitions, concerts and, above all, the development of educational programmes since 2013.
Benita von Maltzahn, Head of Cultural Engagement at Volkswagen Group Communications, and Udo Kittelmann, Director of the National Gallery, look back on a successful collaboration. With Volkswagen Art4ALL, for example, up to 2,400 visitors could be reached on one date. Surveys have shown that visitors are not only enthusiastic, but also consider this way of introducing people to art and removing inhibitions to be the right one.
It can be observed that especially young and older people learn about Volkswagen Art4ALL, who come from the Berlin region or who became aware of this opportunity as tourists. "We are extremely grateful that Volkswagen, as a long-standing partner of the National Gallery, is expanding its social commitment with free admission to the Hamburger Bahnhof on the first Thursday of every month," said Kittelmann. "Artists, creative artists and companies are, so to speak, in the same boat when it comes to promoting cultural education. And if we want to make a joint contribution to the open-minded and positive development of our society.
On the responsibility to make art and culture tangible
Benita von Maltzahn emphasizes the responsibility that the company assumes with the support of its cultural partner and as a promoter of cultural projects worldwide. "Together with the National Gallery, we want to bring art and culture closer to as many people as possible. Because artists work on topics that are important to all of us, topics that are relevant to all of us. And after all, creativity is always a fundamental prerequisite for progress and innovation in our lives."
Art should be seen less as luxury and more as an existential component of an open and modern society. Art and culture constantly show us new perspectives and above all promote a lively discourse between people: an inestimable value.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan and the other three nominated artists have asked the jury to share the Turner Prize - with the statement: "At a time when so much already divides and isolates us, we feel a strong motivation to use the prize as an opportunity for a collective, pluralistic and solidary statement - in art and in society.
With the National Gallery, Volkswagen supports one of the most important museum institutions in Europe: "What unites us above all is the claim and the goal of making art an experience for everyone," says Udo Kittelmann.