Joseph Kosuth inaugurates exhibition series dedicated to ‘Michel Majerus 2022’

The Michel Majerus Estate is delighted to present kosuth majerus sonderborg – an installation by Joseph Kosuth, an exhibition curated by Peter Pakesch.

5 mins read

Joseph Kosuth (b. 1945), Michel Majerus (1967–2002), K.R.H. Sonderborg (1923–2008): three names, three worlds – decidedly disparate in their approaches, divergent in their reception, and yet closely linked. Majerus began his studies at Kunstakademie Stuttgart in the late 1980s, first as a student in Sonderborg’s painting class, and from 1991, under Kosuth.

This exhibition showcases works by Michel Majerus together with those of his two professors for the first time, tracing an artistic connection that spans generations.

The history of Modern art, in its efforts to create a unified image and perception of the world, was particularly heterogenous – a heterogeneity that rejected contrarian assertions and consistently provided occasion for intense dispute over ideology and conceptual direction: abstraction versus figurativism, intellectual calculation versus expressive, spontaneous impulse. As the 20th century came to a close, this is what prospective artists were confronted with as they commenced their education.

For a young Michel Majerus, the navigation of these larger questions took place at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart, spurred on by his professors’ diametrically opposed artistic approaches. Joseph Kosuth and K.R.H. Sonderborg led practices that, at the time, were considered almost entirely incompatible with one another. Majerus succeeded in translating this dialectic into one of the most important bodies of work in contemporary painting, and in doing so, gave rise to a new visual language – one initially characterized by modes of analog image production, and later by the opportunities afforded by digital methods.

Competing notions of concept and text versus gesture and spontaneity become one in Michel Majerus’ work, drawing parallels to the immediacy of video games. By way of Joseph Kosuth, Majerus came face-to-face with the very source of an artform that set in opposition deep thought and calculation in the context of mapping artistic space, and the impulsive action of gestural painting – one that was celebrated by Sonderborg as a proponent and practitioner of informal painting.

It took Michel Majerus’ unique aptitude and exceptional talent to synthesize the practices of Joseph Kosuth and K.R.H. Sonderborg into a vocabulary all his own – one which ushered in the visual sensibilities of the 21st century. This exhibition highlights the tact with which Majerus condenses his professors’ contrasting strategies to both foster a new understanding of spatial and conceptual continuity, and simultaneously acknowledge their existing paradigms.

Tribute to Michel Majerus 2022

Twenty years after the death of Michel Majerus (1967-2002), the Germany-wide exhibition series Michel Majerus 2022 is dedicated to various phases and aspects of the artist’s extraordinary oeuvre, which has continued to influence generations of artists to follow.

MM Erwachet 1999 2
Michel Majerus Erwachet!, 1999 Lacquer paint on aluminium 277 x 420 x 1,7 cm © Michel Majerus Estate, 2022. Courtesy Private Collection Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin

In five solo exhibitions at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), the Kunstverein in Hamburg, the Michel Majerus Estate, and at neugerriemschneider in Berlin, Michel Majerus’ oeuvre will be honored in all its complexity on an unprecedented scale. Loans from the artist’s estate, as well as from public and private collections, will offer new insights into Michel Majerus’ early work as well as the medial and topical questions posed throughout his work.

In parallel with these exhibitions in Berlin and Hamburg, thirteen museums throughout Germany will show works by Michel Majerus from their collections.

A comprehensive publication will accompany this unique series of exhibitions.


kosuth majerus sonderborg – an installation by Joseph Kosuth, curated by Peter Pakesch 28 April, Michel Majerus Estate

2022 to 18 March 2023

Reception: 30 April 2022

The Michel Majerus 2022 exhibition series will be launched by kosuth majerus sonderborg – an installation by Joseph Kosuth, which will show artworks by Michel Majerus side by side with works by his two professors, Joseph Kosuth and K.R.H. Sonderborg, for the first time. Curated by Peter Pakesch, the exhibition will be held at the artist’s former studio, now the Michel Majerus Estate.

MM gemalde neugerriemschneider 1994 1
gemälde, neugerriemschneider, Berlin (19.11.–23.12.1994) © Michel Majerus Estate, 2022. Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin

Michel Majerus – Early Works, curated by Krist Gruijthuijsen, KW Institute for Contemporary Art

22 October 2022 to 15 January 2023

Opening: 21 October 2022

The exhibition Michel Majerus – Early Works seeks to uncover the earliest layers of Michel Majerus’ artistic practice by showing works he produced between 1988 and 1995. Many of these pieces are on public view for the first time.

Michel Majerus – gemälde, 1994, neugerriemschneider

8 November 2022 to 14 January 2023

Opening: 6 November 2022

On 6 November 2022, the 20th anniversary of Michel Majerus’ passing, neugerriemschneider will open Michel Majerus – gemälde, 1994. gemälde was the first exhibition in the gallery’s collaboration with Michel Majerus and opened in 1994. It will be reconstructed at neugerriemschneider for the exhibition series Michel Majerus 2022.

MM michelmajerus 2000 1
Michel Majerus, 2000. Single channel video installation (color, sound), 30’49’’ Loop 25 CRT monitors. Installation view ‘WHAT’S MY NAME?’, Michel Majerus Estate, Berlin (29.04.2016–05.03.2017) © Michel Majerus Estate, 2022. Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Matthew Marks Gallery Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin

Michel Majerus – Data Streaming, curated by Bettina Steinbrügge and Milan Ther, Kunstverein in Hamburg

12 November 2022 to 29 January 2023

Opening: 11 November 2022

The exhibition Michel Majerus – Data Streaming at the Kunstverein in Hamburg explores the digital aspects of Majerus’ work and addresses its relationship to art’s contemporary discourses.

Michel Majerus, curated by Michaela Richter, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)

17 December 2022 to 5 February 2023

Opening: 16 December 2022

The exhibition Michel Majerus at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein highlights Majerus’ installations as a central expression of his practice. An expansive video installation, key wall works and spatial designs as well as sculptural models conceived for his large-scale site-specific projects will be presented here for the first time. The exhibition demonstrates the intermedial specificity of Michel Majerus’ artwork, his practice of sampling, and his media-reflexive approaches – as well as his method of creating spaces for nuanced aesthetic experiences.

MM tron 2 1999 1
Michel Majerus, ‘Tron 2’, (gelb Pantone 107), 1999. Silkscreen on canvas and emulsion on wall. Overall dimension: 300 x 300 cm. Silkscreen on canvas: 142 x 122 cm © Michel Majerus Estate, 2022. Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Matthew Marks Gallery Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin

Collection Displays

  1. Kunsthalle Bielefeld
  2. Kunsthalle Mannheim
  3. Kunstmuseum Bonn
  4. Kunstmuseum Stuttgart Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
  5. Ludwig Forum Aachen
  6. Museum Folkwang, Essen
  7. Museum Ludwig, Cologne
  8. Neues Museum Nürnberg Saarlandmuseum – Moderne Galerie Sprengel Museum Hannover
  9. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
  10. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich


The exhibition series Michel Majerus 2022 is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue published by the Michel Majerus Estate in cooperation with the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k) and the Kunstverein in Hamburg. The publication includes an essay by Diedrich Diederichsen, a contribution by Brigitte Franzen discussing Michel Majerus’ early work, and an essay on the conceptual focus of his art by Karen Archey, as well as artist texts by Cory Arcangel and Rirkrit Tiravanija. It will also document the exhibitions visually, present the collections on view, and provide a list of all the works exhibited. An exhibition history and a biography of the artist featuring archival photographs will also be included in the catalogue, as will a bibliography of the most important publications on Michel Majerus to date.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Michel Majerus Estate (publishers).
Michel Majerus 2022

Hardcover, ca. 24 × 31 cm
ca. 256 pages, ca. 170 color illustrations DCV, Dr. Cantz’sche Verlagsgesellschaft Design: Book Book, Berlin
Publication date: Spring 2023

via Michel Majerus Estate

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