Lovely Creatures

The encounter with animals lets us question ourselves: What makes human beings human, what distinguishes us from our fellow creatures? Our relationship with animals is ambivalent; it is determined by contradictions. In the exhibition Lovely Creatures. Animals, Monsters, Humans in Art, artists approach the theme animals and us in considerably different ways.  

Animals have always been a central theme in art: Already in the Neolithic Age, the ancestors of modern humans used to draw pictures of animals onto cave walls.

Animals embody wild nature, but they can also be tamed or even coddled. There are farm animals and pets; they are loved and eaten. In many works of art, animals act as political, religious, or mythical symbols. They serve as substitutes for our human behavior. In film, literature, and the visual arts, they appear as independent protagonists.

And many people believe that their pets are their soul mates: Often they are substitutes for human partners. Animals are part of our everyday life and simultaneously constitute objects of projection. And then there are also the monsters, the mythical creatures, and hybrids: They represent our fears and hidden sides.

The exhibition Lovely Creatures illuminates different aspects of the relationship between humans and animals in the art of the 20th and 21st centuries based on around 60 works in all media. The works of the Ludwig Collection are commented on, contrasted, and enriched by being juxtaposed with works by contemporary young artists.

The works are divided into five subject areas, whereas many cannot simply be associated with only one topos. There are intersections, particularities, and ambiguities within the works of art as well as exciting analogies between different pieces.