At the start of his intensive career the artist took part in such major exhibitions as When Attitude became Form (1969) and Documenta V (1972). Buthe’s oeuvre initially showed traces of such modernist movements as Minimalism and Informalism. As from the early 1970s, the artist became fascinated by non-European cultures and regularly travelled to Morocco, the Middle East and Iran. Increasingly, his work started questioning the Western tradition and exuded the atmosphere of the social and societal utopias of the 1960s. Buthe saw art and life as an interwoven whole and took an open and uniting approach to change and diversity. His work presents a critical and imaginary response to the disappearance of spirituality and myth from Western society.
Michael Buthe created textile works, drawings, paintings, assemblage sculptures, photos, collages, diaries and films. The only two of his installations that have been preserved form focal points in this exhibition: Taufkapelle mit Papa und Mama (1984) and Die heilige Nacht der Jungfräulichkeit (1992). In 1984, Buthe mounted an extensive show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the forerunner of S.M.A.K. Taufkapelle mit Papa und Mama was created for that exhibition and remains an important work in the museum’s collection to this day.
Michael Buthe | Retrospective has been organised in association with the Museum of Art Lucerne and Haus der Kunst, Munich. Initiative and concept: Heinz Stahlhut of the Museum of Art in Lucerne. With the support of Kunststiftung NRW.