About us

Mission Statement

Art is enthu­siasm, and art is knowledge. The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg wishes to share this knowledge. It strives to be a place of identi­fi­ca­tion for the citizens of the city and the region and, of course, also wants to appeal to inter­na­tional visitors. It wants to take an artistic look at the world from the stand­point of Wolfsburg in order to contri­bute to an under­stan­ding of global events in all their comple­xity with the help of current art themes. The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg wishes to inspire and to build bridges with art. With contem­porary digital strate­gies, it strives to commu­ni­cate its contents to the widest possible audience, arouse curiosity, and inspire enthu­siasm for (inter)active encoun­ters with art.

The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg intends to further expand its signi­fi­cance with a scholarly and curato­ri­ally ambitious exhibi­tion program. The central starting point is both the high-caliber collec­tion and an indepen­dent program that focuses on contem­porary art, but also takes positions of classical modernism into account in order to open up larger cultural contexts for the public.

As a place of cultural education for all, the Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg aims to be a meeting place for people from a wide variety of social backgrounds, with fasci­na­ting artistic positions and themes of global relevance. The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg strives to be a place where visitors can feel at home at their own level of knowledge through diffe­ren­tiated offerings of infor­ma­tion, where they can learn interes­ting facts about art, culture, and society and also make emotional experi­ences. At the same time, it also sees itself as a critical analyst and companion of global developments

The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg strives to be an open, vital, and dynamic place of art and culture for everyone.

Sponsorship

The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg is a privately-sponsored museum supported by the non-profit Kunst­stif­tung Volks­wagen. The project was able to get underway thanks to start-up funding provided by Volks­wagen, the city of Wolfsburg and private donors. The subse­quent building and the museum’s operation expenses are financed by the Kunst­stif­tung Volks­wagen. A large part of its funds come from the founda­tion of Asta and Christian Holler, the founders of Volks­wagen-Versi­che­rungs­dienst VVD. In recent years the Kunst­mu­seum has also received project-based support from Volks­wagen Financial Services AG.

An open, vital and dynamic place for art and culture: the Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg.
Photo: Marek Kruszewski

The Collection

The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg has been collec­ting inter­na­tional contem­porary art since 1994. A solid founda­tion was laid with key works from the field of Minimal Art, Concep­tual Art and Arte Povera. Works by a younger genera­tion of artists were subse­quently added. It was never the intention to assemble a broad encyclo­pedic collec­tion, focusing instead on prominent major works, ensembles and work phases in addition to the exemplary presen­ta­tion of artistic develo­p­ments. The result is not a documen­ta­tion of so-called “currents” but concen­trates instead on artists and artworks repre­sen­ting important aspects of contem­porary art. The collec­tion presently encom­passes circa 400 works or ensembles.

At the anniver­sary exhibi­tion Now Is The Time 2019, the Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg showed the highlights of the collec­tion.
Photo: Marek Kruszewski

Artists Represented in the Collection (A Selection)

Franz Ackermann, Doug Aitken, Carl Andre, Nobuyoshi Araki, John M. Armleder, Katie Armstrong, Richard Artsch­wager, Awst & Walther, Caroline Bachmann & Stefan Banz, Christian Boltanski, Stanley Brouwn, Hussein Chalayan, Tony Cragg, René Daniëls, Jan Dibbets, Burhan Doğançay, Olafur Eliasson, Helmut Federle, Peter Fischli/David Weiss, Gilbert & George, Douglas Gordon, Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Brian Harte, Eberhard Havekost, Jeppe Hein, Georg Herold, Gary Hill, Damien Hirst, Rebecca Horn, Pieter Hugo, Gary Hume, Jörg Immen­dorff, Christian Jankowski, Sergej Jensen, Johannes Kahrs, Gert Jan Kocken, Peter Keetman, Anselm Kiefer, In Sook Kim, Imi Knoebel, Gert Jan Kocken, Ola Koleh­mainen, Jeff Koons, Jannis Kounellis, Imi Knoebel, Robert Lebeck, Pia Linz, Michael Majerus, Joseph Marioni, Rémy Marko­witsch, Maix Mayer, Allan McCollum, Gerhard Merz, Mario Merz, Sarah Morris, Maurizio Nannucci, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Panama­renko, Verner Panton, Manfred Pernice, Elizabeth Peyton, Daniel Pflumm, Julius Popp, Neo Rauch, Tobias Rehberger, Thomas Schütte, Cindy Sherman, Beat Streuli, Philip Taaffe, Sam Taylor-Johnson, James Turrell, Luc Tuymans, Jeff Wall, Lawrence Weiner, James Welling, Tim Wolff, Erwin Wurm, Thomas Zipp.

The photo­gra­pher Robert Lebeck is numerously repre­sented in the collec­tion of the Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg.
Photo: Marek Kruszewski

Architecture

The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg was built from 1992 to 1994 by the Hamburg archi­tec­tural firm of Peter Schweger and Partners as a trans­pa­rent urban loggia. With its extensive overar­ching glass roof the building marks the south entrance to the town center in the direction of Holler­platz. The solitary structure stands archi­tec­to­ni­cally in the tension field between Hans Scharoun’s theater structure and Alvar Aalto’s cultural center both key archi­tec­tures in Wolfsburg.

The center of the museum is the 16-meter high exhibi­tion hall with a quadratic ground plan measuring 40 meters on each side. The impact of the exhibi­tions benefits from the flexible possi­bi­li­ties available in the large space that allow for an indivi­dua­lized archi­tec­ture to meet the specific needs of each show. The generous ground plan is parti­cu­larly suitable for large-scale objects, environ­ments, instal­la­tions and media art. The hall is two-storied on three of its sides and enclosed by further exhibi­tion spaces. The entire exhibi­tion surface encom­passes 3500 square meters. The two-storied studio that can be accessed separ­ately from the upper floor serves as a flexible workshop and presen­ta­tion area where the educa­tional program and other events accom­panying the exhibi­tions can be held.

The exhibi­tion hall is 16 meters high and offers space for flexible archi­tec­ture.
Photo: Marek Kruszewski

The Japan Garden

The Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg is probably the only museum in Europe with a Japan Garden. Origi­nally conceived by the museum’s architect Peter Schweger, the 16 x 32 meter large sculpture court was opened in September 2007 as a place of tranqui­lity and contem­pla­tion. The concep­tion of a Zen garden is closely tied to the “Japan and the West: The Filled Void” exhibi­tion that was shown the same year. Inspired by the museum’s trans­pa­rent technoid appearance that was conceived as an urban villa, the Japan Garden repres­ents a peaceful oasis in the middle of the indus­trial city of Wolfsburg.

Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Kazuhisa Kawamura from the Fachhoch­schule Mainz was the partner architect involved in the planning of the Japan Garden. Kawamura has been active in Germany since 1973. Aside from his profes­sor­ship for repre­sen­ta­tional geometry, the founda­tions of design and archi­tec­tural theory he works as a freelance architect in Cologne. Roofed and furnished with benches, the Japan Garden offers the visitor the chance to unwind and slow down. Looking out across the pebbled area one’s glance meets a wall that lends the garden a sculp­tural quality on account of its compo­si­tion and color as well as through its inter­ac­tion with two other smaller wall slabs. According to the Japanese way of thinking, it is not contra­dic­tory to enclose nature in the form of a garden with hedges, walls and buildings but rather a sign of the Japanese sense of beauty. The delibe­rate combi­na­tion of planned ratio­na­lity and random natural­ness is charac­te­ristic of a Japanese garden. Only when it is bordered like a painting in a frame is the garden recognized as such and appreciated.

Elements of Zen gardens are integrated into the large pebbled area that symbo­lizes water. The stones and plants were chosen in accordance with their climatic suita­bi­lity; Japanese bamboos were thus planted alongside local juniper bushes and a maple tree that will develop into a bonsai through continual profes­sional trimming.

Ideally, the garden and the museum are not to be seen as separate archi­tec­tonic works but rather as parts of a single overall concept. Both environ­ments seemingly flow naturally into each other, creating a symbiosis. The Japan Garden in the Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg is acces­sible to museum visitors during the museum’s usual opening hours (through the east cabinet to the rear of the large exhibi­tion hall).

The realiz­a­tion of the garden was generously supported by Pon Holdings B.V., Nijkerk, The Netherlands.

Trans­pa­rent archi­tec­ture distin­guishes the Japanese garden.
The Japanese Garden offers a haven of peace in the indus­trial city of Wolfsburg.
Photo: Marek Kruszewski