Information from the museum, 7 April 2015
This spring, the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne will be the first museum in Europe to exhibit the video installation Hearsay of the Soul by the brilliant film director Werner Herzog. With this work, Herzog finds himself for the first time in the field of the visual artist instead of the producer. The installation was created for the Whitney Biennale in New York in 2012. This unusual installation will be the focal point in the exhibition Werner Herzog & Hercules Segers: Landscapes of the Soul, to be seen from 14 April until 12 July 2014.
Herzog describes his video installation as a ‘pilgrimage’ to the landscape etchings of Hercules Segers (ca. 1590 – ca. 1638). In Segers, Herzog sees the ‘father of modern art’. Around Hearsay of the Soul the museum has grouped a selection of twelve exceptional etchings by Segers from the collections in Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt and Vienna along with the painting View of Brussels from the Wallraf collection. The juxtaposition sheds light on various common aspects of the work of these two exceptional artists and their aesthetic affinities.
The exhibition offers another pilgrimage to Segers’s etchings. The visitor passes drawings and prints by Dutch artists who first dealt with the landscape as a motif in its own right and of several contemporaries of Segers in Haarlem who translated their homeland environment into small pleasant etchings. One will thus encounter artist like Pieter Bruegel, Gillis van Coninxloo, Segers’s teacher; and artists like Jan and Esaias van de Velde and Willem Buytewech. The pilgrimage closes with his late contemporaries, who admired and followed Segers in distinctive ways, namely Rembrandt and Johannes Ruischer. Visiting this exhibition, one sees how Segers is to some extend rooted in a specific (Flemish) tradition, and at the same time how his etchings stand out in their experimental spirit.