Villa Merkel

International contemporary art in the Villa Merkel

The Villa Merkel displays international contemporary art for the residents of Esslingen.

The prestigious former bourgeois home, one of the first residential buildings in southern Germany to be constructed of concrete in 1873, is reserved solely for displaying international contemporary art of the moment. Generally speaking, the projects are specially designed and constructed for the available spaces, as part of which the galleries support artists with the production of the artworks, with formulating ideas and plans, and getting their pieces of art off the ground.

The Individual and Group Exhibitions in the Villa Merkel are conceived as series of projects that are loosely connected to each other. These artworks focus on ”Art/Nature/Natural Science” (e.g. exhibitions with Mark Dion, Lois & Franziska Weinberger, Henrik Håkansson) or ”Art/Urbanity/Utopia” (e.g. exhibitions with Fabrice Gygi, Inga Svala Thorsdottir, Tobias Putrih). Recently, the Villa has exhibited works by Darren Almond, Melanie Smith, Lutz/Guggisberg, Adrian Schiess and Emily Jacir, to name but a few.

Alongside this experimental form of supporting contemporary art, the galleries also aim further to develop the Merkelpark into an inviting ”Kunstpark”, or art park. The International Foto-Triennale began in 1989 and quickly became an example to be followed.

The Municipal Prints and Drawings Collection in the Villa Merkel contains around 3,500 drawings, prints and photographs, and preserves European artworks ranging from classical modernist pieces to works by the most recent contemporary artists. Included in the collection are artworks by extensive collections by Esslingen-based artists such as Volker Böhringer and Rolf Nesch.