"Art in itself is a religion. And I believe that artists really do have a priest-like function", Michael Buthe explained in an interview. He brought spirituality to art at a time when it was dominated by the conceptual, and he did not shy away from connecting his work with the opulence of the Orient and motives of kitsch. Adorned with feathers and dressed in flowing robes, he acted as a shaman in his performances and turned his exhibitions into mystical-magical works of art. Despite his early death, his companion, "Michel de la Sainte Beauté" - as he called himself ironically – has remained in our memories as a dazzling artistic personality.
Ingvild Goetz met Buthe, who led a nomadic life between the Rheinland and Morocco, in Cologne, and she later visited him in his studio in Marrakesh, becoming enchanted with his superordinate visual cosmos. The two were united in their curiosity of the unknown, their interest in foreign cultures and their yearning for spirituality in everyday life. Buthe even designed a meditation tower on Goetz’s private compound in Spain, which he solemnly inaugurated with a mystical ritual.
The exhibition in the Sammlung Goetz presents Michael Buthe in the full scope of his artistic career, beginning with his early minimalist drawings and objects from 1968/69 to his sculptural collages with feathers, plants and glossy paper, his large-format watercolors and his paintings adorned with silver and gold bronze, to his extensive portfolios from 199/94, which are on view to the public for the first time. The presentation is supplemented by documentary material and photographs from Ingvild Goetz’s personal photo album.
Curated by Karsten Löckemann