27th exhibition in the new offices in Essen
The opening of the new offices of foryouandyourcustomers GmbH in Essen was celebrated with a private viewing of the works of three artists: Willi Baumeister (Stuttgart, 1889–1955) was an artist ostracised by the Third Reich who worked with lithography. Sali Oelhafen, Vienna, exhibits three-dimensional graphite objects and acrylic drawings on cardboard and screen. Christian Stock, Vienna, shows ‘Würfelbild BLAU’ and ‘Würfelbild WEISS’ as well as 13 pieces from his series ‘Monochrome Expressionism’.
The CEO Axel Helbig, who has been with foryouandyourcustomers in Germany since 2014, welcomed the approximately 100 guests comprising customers, family members, employees, partners and a great amount of art enthusiasts to the third location of foryouandyourcustomers GmbH in the Kanzleihaus Salomon Heinemann at Zweigertstrasse 50 in Essen. ‘The art and the great reception among our guests have turned these previously empty rooms into living spaces once again. And this is how we commit ourselves fully to collaborative work,’ Helbig said as he introduced the architect for a speech on the building’s history.
‘I want to tell the two stories of this building,’ started the architect and contractor who purchased and renovated the building, Albert Sevinc, as he invited his audience to learn about the first design and construction of the building from 1911 and the renovation and rediscovery of this ‘architectural jewel that we uncovered after clean-up’. The urban planning vision of Essen’s mayor Erich Zweigert saw a boulevard with a courthouse, homes and office buildings, where architect Edmund Körner designed and then built the Kanzleihaus Salomon Heinemann for Salomon and Anna Heinemann, a project that lasted from 1910 until 1914.
The excellent lawyer Salomon Heinemann and children’s book author Anna Heinemann enjoyed 24 fruitful years there until 9 November 1938. They had to suffer the destruction of inventory and of a significant collection of Expressionist art. They were exposed to extreme physical violence on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, and decided thereafter to commit suicide together.
The building was used by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Essen from 1948 until 2006 and was then put up for sale. ‘Our first visit in 2011 gave no clues as to the treasure this building truly was,’ Sevinc said, and he went on to describe how his obligation toward the first owners and architects grew as he learned of the history and essence of the building. Renting the space to companies that would appreciate the history of the building and reflect it in their values and work arose from the historically accurate reconstruction of the property. ‘I want to thank Josef Stadler and Axel Helbig for their understanding and appreciation of the history of this special building, which is also shown through the works exhibited here at this private viewing,’ the contractor concluded.
‘The loss of their impressive Expressionist collection was not just of great significance to the Heinemanns, but also to Museum Folkwang in Essen, to which the collection was promised,’ continued art historian Baerbel Messing.
According to Messing, the abstract work of Willi Baumeister, a lithograph entitled ‘Motiv 1937’ exhibited in the reception hall of foryouandyourcustomers GmbH, is central to the history of the building and its founders, a history interwoven with that of Museum Folkwang. The Third Reich banned the imminent painter and art professor, Willi Baumeister – ‘a pioneer in abstraction’ says Messing – from working and exhibiting. The inclusion of his lithography in the exhibition of three artists is ‘a witness and a reminder of our past, which indicates nothing of the gravity of the time’ Messing says of the piece entitled ‘Motiv 1937’.
Painting in the 21st century, free of the objectivism and rigid expectations of previous generations, deals with elements such as paint layering and colour gradient, silhouettes and shadows. The work of Sali Oelhafen is bound to the painting on one side and breaks down the painted objects on the other, compresses them as elastic designs that float in front of the wall with moulded and real light shadows. Here the art historian saw ‘the parallels with the seemingly floating elements in the lithography.’
Both the works of Sali Ölhafen and the painted objects by Christian Stock bring the words ‘light, upbeat dancing’ to mind. Despite the weight of thousands of layers of paint, the cube painting by Christian Stock was deemed ‘a floating object on the wall’ by Bärbel Messing. The cube paintings by Christian Stock impress upon the beholder the time and patience behind their creation and each person has their own unique experience as they gaze upon them. The art historian then turned to the audience and the employees of foryouandyourcustomers GmbH and asked them whether ‘after a year of observing and mulling over the art’ they would ‘experience moments of inspiration or even moments of resistance’.
Axel Helbig thanked the artists and speakers for their contributions and repeated his conviction ‘that we are committed to our customers and partners in both pushing forward digitalisation as well as opening up communication more and more and again and again, as the art of these three artists does.’
Axel Helbig thanks all of the artists and visitors.