People buy art or collage postcards

Winfried Junge: "How universes are created from snippets"

Winfried Junge shows his postcard-sized collages in Villa Zanders. “Kleinzeug” is a complex exhibition at the interface between art history and current discourses. The opening already had controversial potential.

On Thursday, the exhibition by the Oberberg artist Winfried Junge was officially opened in the Villa Zanders art museum. With the support of VR Bank, 130 copies of the new series of his collage postcards will be shown in the villa's cabinet rooms.

Petra Oelschlägel, director of the art museum, and the deputy mayor Josef Willnecker welcomed the many exhibition guests. They explained the now established format of the cabinet exhibitions. This was followed by a controversial eulogy from Falk Reuter, Winfried Junge's former colleague at the school in Wipperfürth.

Josef Willnecker welcomes the audience and introduces the museum concept

Exciting field of research for children and schoolchildren

This exhibition format was created for the presentation of artists from the region, explains Willnecker. But it also serves to convey art to schools, Willnecker proudly explains. This means that Bergische pupils with their various perspectives on the respective exhibition can playfully acquire art skills and present their own work at the same time. A highly experimental approach by an art museum that is by no means taken for granted. The format therefore promises renewal from an artistic, art-historical and educational point of view.

An exciting field of research in the programmatic sense of "Why do different people see different things in the same work of art?"

Josef Willnecker was inspired by the insecurity of art

The work of Winfried Junge from Lindlar is currently being shown here. An artist who taught high school as an art teacher for a long time. An interesting constellation in every respect.

Willnecker closes his greeting with a personal interpretation of Winfried Junge's works as a conscious "uncertainty in unusual compositions that stimulate the viewer's imagination". An interesting formulation that makes you think about any uncertainty caused by the unfamiliar.

Unfortunately, a very blurred picture of Petra Oelschlägel from the back rows

A stage for odds and ends

Petra Oelschlägel, director of the art museum, also welcomed the guests to the 3rd cabinet exhibition and explained that the cabinet rooms are traditionally dedicated to the Walther Lindgen Foundation. The presentation of the collection has only recently been redesigned in favor of other formats: "In addition to the educational approach on the one hand, the main aim is to level a stage for the artists from the region with a large exhibition and their own catalog of works".

According to the Duden, the title “small stuff” points to “banalities, blobs”, a carefully chosen title, according to Oelschlägel, an artist with an affinity for languages.

Since the 80s, the then high school teacher Winfried Junge has been sending hand-made collages in portrait format, all in postcard size, to friends, acquaintances and relatives, more than 3000 pieces. Four years ago the originals were finally too valuable for him to give away and from then on he only sent reproductions.

Winfried Junge's collages look like reproductions and are still unique pieces glued to perfection

A selection of this new series of around 130 pieces from a total of 1089 pieces can now be seen in the two exhibition rooms of the cabinet exhibition. Since Junge has kept the originals himself, he has been keeping a collage catalog raisonné with consecutive numbering.

For young people, the technique of the collage became a “mobile technique” - because he “found new materials in every place at any time, with which he could create new worlds of images”, continued Oelschlägel.

Winfried Junge developed a mobile technology for his postcards, which he also sent for a long time

“His motifs span an arc from motifs from art history to current events. Thanks to Junge's precise way of working, which is demonstrated, for example, by leaving absolutely no adhesive marks, you are almost convinced to stand in front of photographed postcards, "explains Oelschlägel.

Like all the other guests, I found myself looking for traces of work and I was just as amazed at how smooth and shiny the surface appears even when viewed closely. You can see nuances in the contrast, sometimes tiny color delimitations, i.e. the finest cut-outs that the artist must have placed and fixed perfectly with the patience of an angel.

Icons of art history fragmented and reassembled

Petra Oelschlägel sees “universes arise in these small snippets”. In conclusion, she praised “the humility of the artist, who overestimated nothing”. None of the 130 postcards has a title: “The viewer should find his own name”.

An instruction in image interpretation

Critical points of view

The ceremonial eulogy was given by Falk Reuter, with whom Winfried Junge was a teacher until 2015 at the Archbishopric St. Angela Gymnasium in Wipperfürth. Reuter read the most important stages in the professional and artistic career of his colleague.

Winfried Junge, born in 1949, studied art at the Düsseldorf Academy from 1969 to 1974 as well as art history and philosophy at the University of Cologne. In 1971/72 Jung worked as a “freelance designer and designed the catalogs for Neckermann. A job, ”as Reuter jokingly added.

From photography he came to large-scale painting and finally to small-format collages. Back then, he sent around 2500 originals while commuting between his home country and France.

This was followed by an irritating composition of press and media criticism in general, which was placed in the context of the design principles of the collages on display. Whatever the reason, I briefly thought this was a performance.

When I asked Reuter about it later, he told me that he wasn't an artist himself. What a pity. I could not follow the train of thought for the most part because of its general, undifferentiated explanations. In retrospect, I can only string together my transcripts of the formulations in fragments, but now I still find it important to address the train of thought.

Is the world of press and media really as fragmentary as Winfried Junge's collages?

In Reuter's introduction, before moving on to the collages, it was about a “glossy world”, “a dismemberment of how the world presents itself”, “news broadcasts in the format of five to 10 minutes or even info spots” up to the “President who tweets in 280 characters ”. “Inadequate content is conveyed” and “the form does not do justice to the content”. Today “photos are taken out of context, set pieces are connected and meaning is lost or changed”.

In the sometimes passionate conversation of some artists and authors in the audience about it, a controversial discussion emerged, because, as these listeners agreed, "never before has there been such comprehensive, well-prepared information accessible to everyone as it is today."

I would very much like this discussion to continue. The citizen portal sees itself as a communication platform and is certainly a good place for it - the comments field below is open to everyone.

Briefing in consideration

Then Reuter did a picture review that the audience may also know from art class. Every visitor to the exhibition should now take the glossy picture that was displayed on the front seating in order to follow the art-historical instruction of the speaker.

You could see the motif that was also shown on the flyer for the exhibition. In a very detailed analysis, each element was examined in its clear picture function and brought into the logical context.

Unfortunately, as I was in art class, I was sitting in one of the back rows, and the neighbors' level of chatter allowed only fragmentary information that would be difficult to reproduce in a legible essay.

An image interpretation that students might enjoy. Using the example of a parrot (far right), Falk Reuter's design principles have been thoroughly declined.

To put it very simply, this collage is a kind of ostentatious still life with vanitas motifs in composition with constructivist painting by Piet Mondrian. Unfortunately, there are no accompanying texts attached to the works, although this information is apparently fundamental for understanding.

However, this is a good keyword to refer to the artist's extensive catalog, which is available for purchase in a limited edition.

Many exhibition visitors leafed through the catalog, no doubt also to find more background information on the artistic intention.

I finally realized who the artist was, because Winfried Junge carefully signed each of the catalogs for hours and unfortunately could hardly be distracted from me with a deeper conversation. I had the image of the mystified, press-shy artist in mind, who likes to let others do the talking. I would have liked to learn more, and philosophize with him about the developments that will happen in a long-term project of 40 years.

If you want to learn more about the artist, it is advisable to buy the catalog.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Falk Reuter, who was kind enough to answer a few questions. We chatted about getting to know each other, about the teaching staff at the time. What was the key moment for the artist to stop giving his art away? What role did the sending play, what role did the recipient play?

Brigitta Gerke-Jork and Falk Reuter meet as a former student and teacher colleague of the artist.

Brigitta Gerke-Jork very much regrets that she is no longer receiving any originals. She was introduced to me as a former student, even a member of the then regular meetings of the eight teachers. To this day she maintains close contact with her former art teacher Winfried Junge. Immediately I was reconciled with my picture from art class.

Her art teacher Winfried Junge had definitely influenced her, confessed today's art therapist and naturopath for psychotherapy from Hesse, who also makes art. When asked which of the new motifs shown here she liked the most, she chose the vanitas motifs, because she is “currently working in a palliative care unit”.

How nice if it would have been to see the background of the original postcard stories presented.

Hopefully the artist will give us the opportunity to do so in the future. Until then, consider the postcards as addressed to you, give them names and philosophize about art and teaching, history and daily events, not necessarily in the front row, but also with unfamiliar perspectives.

Winfried Junge - small stuff

08.02 – 17.03.2019

Villa Zanders art museum
Konrad-Adenauer-Platz 8, 51465 Bergisch Gladbach
Tel. 02202.142356 / 142334, [email protected]

opening hours
Tue - Sat 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday and public holidays 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
and by appointment.

Other current exhibitions:

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Philosophy of seeing: "I see something, what you ..."

Jörg Extra puts his love of jazz on paper

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Marked: Villa Zanders