2. Sustainability
  3. Engagement
  4. Culture

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When we at Volkswagen Group support culture and the arts today, then we are taking responsibility for tomorrow.

Video: „Volkswagen Cultural Engagement“

Because the future is being shaped when creativity unfolds. As a global and socially responsible company, we translate this belief into numerous projects which we strengthen in the frame of long-term partnerships and sustainable collaborations with artists, cultural visionaries and internationally leading institutions. With our help, an even larger audience gets in touch with creative works and ideas. And we firmly support cultural education programmes enabling people to understand the power of art and inspiring them to act creatively. 

Encounter with award-winning works

Wolfgang Tillmans, „Deer Hirsch“ 1995
Photo: © Wolfgang Tillmans, Courtesy Galerie Buchholz Berlin, Cologne

Celebrating the power of pictures. The 2018 Kaiserring Award has been granted by the city of Goslar to the acclaimed artist Wolfgang Tillmans. The ceremony for the presentation of the internationally renowned art prize also marked the opening of the award winner exhibition. The show in the Goslar Mönchehaus Museum provides an impressive documentation of Wolfgang Tillmans’ creative work. For the fourth time, Volkswagen supports the Kaiserring Award winner exhibition offering access to creations of some of the most influential contemporary artists and underlining the company’s commitment towards cultural engagement in the regions where Volkswagen’s role as employer is of special social significance. This year’s exhibition in honor of the Kaiserring Award winner invites visitors to explore Wolfgang Tillmans’ powerful photographs unveiling his artistic joy in consistently redefining the image and experimenting with photographic processing. They also illustrate Tillmans’ strength to contribute with artistic expressions to pressing social debates. More than photographs Tillmans creates appeals to actively participate in social discourses, which is a perfect example how societies move forward also driven by artistic impetus and enthusiasm. As a responsible corporate citizen with a strong belief that culture and the arts drive social progress, Volkswagen recognizes these impulses and helps with its cultural engagement to create those multifaceted environments which spark imagination and stir courage to let new and bold ideas emerge.   

The Politics of Design

Victor Panek

Giving form to effect change. This is what was driving the work of Victor Papanek, one of the most influential designers and thinkers of the modern age. In a first museum retrospective, Vitra Design Museum presents a comprehensive overview of the innovative concepts and designs of Papanek. As partner of the exhibition project, Volkswagens deepens the collaboration with the institution after Volkswagen invited the Vitra Design Museum in 2017 to contribute to the “Driven by German Design” exhibition in Doha. The current show provides insights to Papanek’s socially and ecologically motivated design principles, which were considered revolutionary, but which are more relevant now than ever. When in today’s design practices the perspective shifts from the product to the people, this evolution is also based on principles like “Do it yourself”, “Co-creation” and “Life cycle design” all inspired by “Design for the Real World” which was written by Victor Papanek in 1971 and is now available in 23 languages as one of the world’s most widely read design books. This significant work and a number of further references drawn from his estate are being shown in the exhibition illustrating Papanek’s body of work and his influence. Curated by Amelie Klein and Alison J. Clarke, the retrospective also includes a collection of works by contemporary designers who drew inspiration from Papanek’s positions and his philosophy: creativity means responsibility.  

Wolfsburg Celebrates 20 Years of Junge Kunst

Exhibition view

Young art in a young city. Over the last 20 years Volkswagen has supported the work of Verein Junge Kunst in Wolfsburg. Largely on a volunteer basis, the members of this organization encourage encounters with innovative artistic endeavors. Exhibitions, projects within the urban space as well as educational programs invite the public to discover the work of young artists from Germany and abroad; for many of the artists, the efforts of the Verein allowed for the first form of public appreciation. Since 1998, Junge Kunst e.V has realized more than 80 projects, paving the way for a number of these artists to an internationally respected creative career. The wide range of these artistic expressions and messages will be featured in a special anniversary exhibition, which is on view in Wolfsburg from September through December 2018. As a founding partner of Verein Junge Kunst, Volkswagen also supports the realization of this comprehensive show.

Images as Arbiters of Cultural Exchange

Exhibition view

Germany perceived through the eyes of one of Germany’s leading photo artists – on view in China. In Beijing, more than 60 impressive works form Andreas Mühe´s first solo exhibition in China.  Following his contribution to the major exhibition project "Deutschland 8 – Deutsche Kunst in China”  in 2017, Mühe, who has received many awards in Germany and whose influential work is supported by Volkswagen, is now presented at the Red Brick Art Museum. Seen by more than 750,000 visitors, “Deutschland 8” showed across 7 museums in Beijing  a tour d`horizon of contemporary German art from 1945 to today.  As part of this ambitious project Andreas Mühe invited children to discover what photography and art are all about. Together with the Stiftung Kunst und Kultur in Bonn and the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing, Volkswagen Group China  helped  to realize the 2018 solo exhibition, open from September 11 through October 21. In this show, Andreas Mühe provides a comprehensive view of his work including works of art that have not been displayed before. Each photograph illustrates Mühe´s singular visual vocabulary, drawing from conventions of German aesthetics. To look at these highly reflective compositions is to be fascinated by the energy of the visual expression and yet at the same time to be encouraged to put it into question. Compelling and unusual insights into Germany and its culture emerge, underpinning Volkswagen Group China’s long-term commitment to deepening cultural exchange between the two countries.

"Art x Tech" Symposium in Beijing

Music meets the future. As founder and host of the "Art x Tech" Symposium in Beijing, in September 2018, Volkswagen Group China is initiated an innovative exchange between art, science and technology. Representatives from the Eliette & Herbert von Karajan Institute and researchers from the Future Center of Volkswagen Group China invited musicians such as the world-famous violinist Daniel Hope and digital experts to discuss how the perception of art and culture are impacted by the growing digitization of all aspects of living and what role artificial intelligence will play in the development of new art forms. Real-life scenarios illustrating how music and autonomous driving could be combined in future vehicles will also be presented. These concepts are the result of the first workshop with musicians and technology experts, initiated by Volkswagen, which took place in Berlin, in spring 2018. The symposium in Beijing ties in with the workshop and will continue the conversation, but also drawing on Asian aspects. Furthermore, the symposium will lead to the debut of the renowned classical music series "Yellow Lounge", featuring six events across Asia for the first time. Connecting club culture, classical music and electronic music with each other, the "Yellow Lounge" series founded by Deutsche Grammophon has generated a new experience of classical music in various places across the world. These next concerts that are supported through Volkswagen will now give the Asian audience a chance at a new way of listening.

VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL: free access to Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin

Since 2018, the Berlin-based museum Hamburger Bahnhof has offered free entry to the public on every first Thursday of the month between 4 and 8 pm, welcoming them to view one the world’s most important collections of contemporary art. Enabled by the support of Volkswagen, this invitation allows guests to engage with the museum’s exhibitions. Additionally, there will be an interdisciplinary programme comprised of lectures, artist talks, performances and multi-lingual tours.

Culture is a fundamental part of any vibrant society. It drives individual creativity and curiosity and offers new perspectives. That is why Volkswagen is committed to providing as many people as possible with access to the arts and culture and foster social engagement by contributing to cultural education. In November of 2018 this engagement was honored with the Corporate Art Award as part of the “Art Patrons of the XXI. Century” programme. The award presentation was held at The European Parliament in Brussels as part of its “European Year of Cultural Heritage”.

Nationalgalerie – Partnership (more information)

„The Future Starts Here“

Shooting Stars project, Ale and Co Ltd, 2016
® ALE Co. Ltd

Prepared for tomorrow?! Inviting people to its new exhibition „The future starts here“, the Victoria & Albert Museum initiates an engaging discourse concerning the role of digitalisation for the next chapter in our social lives. Internationally acclaimed artists, designers and digital pioneers as Miranda July, Kei Kreutler, Tomas Saraceno, Heather Dewey-Hagborg and the interaction design studios Stamen and Tellart present their work in this exhibition and illustrate varying forms of technological development and progressing connectivity.

As a partner of the V&A, the Volkswagen Group has been supporting the exceptional exhibition project from the conceptual phase through to its realization. Ultimately, this exhibition encourages a large audience to intensify the creative discourse and to respond in very personal ways to the questions arising from the ideas for tomorrow’s societies.

V&A Partnership (more information)

„Wanderlust“ – From Caspar David Friedrich to Auguste Renoir

Anselm Feuerbach
Landscape with two Women, 1867. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Jörg P. Anders

When we think of the wanderer as a painterly motif, the famous painting "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" by Caspar David Friedrich comes to mind. This exceptional loan from the Hamburger Kunsthalle forms the starting point for a special exhibition held at the Alte Nationalgalerie, which follows this surprisingly central theme in art throughout the nineteenth century and all the way to famous works of modern art.

The works shown in the exhibition, including masterworks by Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Blechen, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Johan Christian Dahl, Richard Wilson, Christen Købke, Gustave Courbet, Iwan Kramskoi, Ferdinand Hodler, Auguste Renoir, Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix and Ernst Barlach, show just how powerful and fruitful the motif of the wanderer was in art throughout the nineteenth century, not only in Germany but in many places, from France and Great Britain to Denmark, Norway and Russia.

Significant loaned works from important museum collections in Europe and the USA will complement selected works from the collection of the Nationalgalerie, resulting in a large show of more than 120 exhibits.

The exhibition is made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie and supported by Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft.

Nationalgalerie – Partnership (more information)


Online Education at MoMA

Depositphotos/ racorn

Experiencing and understanding art is no longer a question of the location. This visionary objective is turned into reality through MoMA’s innovative online course programme. As a pioneer among international museums, MoMA makes its resources available for art lovers from all areas in the world. The courses also propose new approaches how to integrate art into educational activities with children and teenagers. With help of Volkswagen Group of America, the range of online courses has been significantly expanded since 2011 and complemented by a series of free courses. During this time, over 300,000 people worldwide have taken advantage of the online education programme. Most recently, the Volkswagen Group of America has enabled the production of an online course in Mandarin, providing Chinese-speaking users with easier access to the educational programme.

MoMA Partnership (more information)

VW Sunday Session MoMA PS 1

Performance: ATM Presents DEN$E, performers name: Bubblesz
Photograph: Aliza Sena

In search of new discoveries. VW Sunday Sessions at MoMA PS1 offer forward-thinking opportunities to discover art directly and in new contexts. In these annual events which have been taking place between October and April for five years, creative pioneers present a diverse range of art forms and encourage their audience to engage in direct dialogue about artistic and social topics. Volkswagen Group of America has been a dedicated partner of the VW Sunday Sessions since the programme was launched. Through the multifunctional 'VW Dome' in the courtyard of MoMA PS1, also made possible by the company, the museum could extend its event space and consequently its ground-breaking programme for different age groups.

MoMA Partnership (more information)

“Deutschland 8”

German Art in Beijing, CAFA Museum
Photo: Katharina Woll

Celebrating art as an inspirational bond between Germany and China. As a partner of the Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur e.V. (Foundation for Art and Culture) and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Volkswagen AG, alongside Volkswagen Group China, was making a significant contribution to the implementation of the exhibition series entitled “Deutschland 8”. The exhibition series showcased German contemporary art in China on an unprecedented scale. Around 320 works of art, including pieces by Jörg Immendorff, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Andreas Gursky, Neo Rauch, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, were on display at eight cultural locations in the Chinese capital inviting visitors to become acquainted with the German art scene. For the first time ever, the almost 600-year-old Imperial Ancestral Temple in the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing hosted parts of a contemporary Western art exhibition series. The types of works of art on display ranged from paintings and drawings to sculptures, installations and photographs as well as video art. With support from Volkswagen AG, 12 of the most influential German artists of our time attended the opening of the exhibition in order to interact with Chinese professionals working in the creative arts and the local audience. A shuttle service provided by Volkswagen Group China connected the exhibition sites and enabled visitors to get an informative insight into all the different art forms on show at the different locations. The sponsorship of this extraordinary exhibition project is part of Volkswagen Group China’s long-term strategy to promote art and culture.

Salzburg Easter Festival and Karajan Music Tech Conference

Dr. Patrick van der Smagt, Director of AI Research at the Volkswagen Data:Lab at the Karajan Music Tech Conference, Salzburg

Traditionally progressive: with this ambition and supported by the Volkswagen Group as the festival’s multi-year partner, the Salzburg Easter Festival is once more encouraging people to feel in different formats the imagination echoed in the masterpieces of classical music:

As a prelude to the festival, the Karajan Music Tech Conference reveals the potential of cutting-edge concepts for the future of music. Building on the visionary approach of the Easter Festival founder Herbert Karajan and bringing together musicians, cultural players, tech pioneers and future experts, the international symposium is supported by Volkswagen for the third time. Patrick van der Smagt, renowned computer scientist and Head of AI (Artificial Intelligence) Research at the Volkswagen Data Lab, invites the audience to discuss the role of human machine interaction as driver for creativity.

Joining the Innovation Lab as part of this year’s conference, Riciardo Simian, founder of 3D Music Instruments, unveils results of a cooperation with Volkswagen’s 3-D printing specialists. The project teams analyzed similarities between instrument making and the quality of car noises and reviewed technical limits of 3-D thin-wall printing technologies which are essential for instrument makers. By exploiting the potential of 3-D printing systems, the joint research work led to the printing of a deconstructed trumpet and a test of its sound generated without valves.

Created and realized by internationally acclaimed artists as a new opera production, Richard Wagner’s “The Meistersinger von Nürnberg“ is in the focus of this year’s Salzburg Easter Festival. The conception and production of the opera has been headed by Christian Thielemann, the Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival and Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden, whose international activities have been supported by Volkswagen for many years.

Introduced with the help of Volkswagen and realized in Salzburg for the second time in 2019, the special concert format “On tour without tailcoat” enables a wide audience to enjoy new musical experiences delivered by different ensembles of the Staatskapelle Dresden in Salzburg’s bars and pubs.

documenta 14

Joining the global art exhibition documenta as main sponsor for the fourth time, was an expression of Volkswagen AG´ profound conviction that furthering arts and culture is one of the most crucial concerns of modern society. Events such as this are a platform for a free artistic debate about the issues of our time, documenta is regarded highly by both visitors and professionals, enabling the exhibitions to generate strong and lasting impulses. In Athens, documenta 14 opened the first exhibition segment as part of the trans-national concept, which in the year 2017 for the first time was staged in two places. With the start in Kassel on June 10th Volkswagen’s facilities were also closely tied in.