Kunstforum im Medien- und Kulturhaus Lÿz

Great success for ´Paul McCartney paintings´ in Siegen
37.500 people visited the exhibition at the Kunstforum Lÿz

Siegen. ´Paul McCartney paintings´ opened its doors to the world in Siegen. It was the very first time that Paul McCartney showed his works as a painter. The Kreis Siegen-Wittgenstein together with the department Wirtschaftsförderung and the Kultur!Büro took a risk: although Siegen is the birth place of Peter Paul Rubens, it has had no experience of holding large scale art exhibitions and was sceptical as to whether enough visitors would be attracted to the Lÿz exhibition and make the investment worthwhile. Sunday, the 25th of July, marks the end of Siegen`s most important cultural event to date. Wolfgang Suttner, director of the exhibition, can be more than satisfied with the results: 37.500 visitors, 30% from abroad, came to the 12 weeks exhibition. On top of this, approximately 9.000 catalogues and more than 11.000 posters were sold. The number of admissions was almost double of that anticipated by Mr. Suttner.

The international audience was fascinated by the colour and expression of Paul McCartney`s art, who is obsessed with painting. People were informed about the event in the south Westphalian city via Internet, TV-reports in 185 countries and a press response amounting to about thousand millions of printed copies. It was not only the intensive marketing by the Kultur!büro that lured so many people to Siegen. The attraction lay in Paul McCartney`s personal and sensitive art which is characterised by its diversified subjects and is situated somewhere between the two poles of objective realism and gestural expression. Many people, critics amongst them, were surprised by the artistic qualities of the pop-idol who, behind the scenes of the music business, has long since made a name for himself as a painter. Along with a one-page dedication in the New York Times there were reports in South African and Japanese newspapers and the London Times even sent their art critic John Russell Taylor to the ´Rubensstadt´. He praised:" Paul McCartney`s paintings are a living testimony to one who live and breath in colour."

It was almost 5 years ago, when Frederike Suttner, the daughter of the district art expert, heard, that the musician also painted. So she persuaded her father into holding an exhibition. Finally, Suttner`s vision was realised when he made contact with Paul McCartney and discovered an exciting and modern painter. The Kultur!Büro team not only planned the exhibition conception but also took care of the organisation, distribution of catalogues, advertising and public relations and has established a friendly relationship to Paul McCartney and his managment. The artist is highly-satisfied with the responses to his paintings and his video installation. Particularly, since there have been so many differing interpretations of his paintings and less than 10% of the public and critics gave negative views. Plans are being made for further exhibitions elsewhere with the ´Siegen-outlay´. That means: the photo documentation of Linda McCartney, the arrangement of the paintings and the video installation ´feedback´ will remain integral parts of the exhibition. Within the next months Paul McCartney will decide upon where the exhibition is to take place again. There are offers from different German cities, from Britain, Kiev, Vienna, Bratislava, Seoul and Athens. First of all, the paintings will be returned to Britain next week while the staff of the Kultur!Büro. brings the rest of the exhibition to a close. Catalogues and posters will still be distributed and additionally, the cultural and financial results have to be reflected. One thing is certain: ´Paul McCartney paintings´ was an eye-opener for many art buffs and captured the interest of many newcomers in the field of modern art.

PAUL McCARTNEY paintings , Kunstforum Lÿz, Siegen, 1. Mai bis 25. Juli 1999
Konzeption & Organisation der Ausstellung: Kultur!Büro. Kreis Siegen-Wittgenstein
Paintings © Paul McCartney. Photographs of the artist © Estate of Linda McCartney


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