With the soft-opening in September 2019, the WAI Galleries at the Woods Art Institute opened their doors to the public with an extract from the Reinking Collection. Exhibited across sixteen rooms and the large hall, works by modern, contemporary and indigenous artists are presented, that take a position on questions surrounding human existence.
Situated in a beautiful and conducive nature setting outside of Hamburg, the WAI Foundation invites the public to explore the private collection. Rik Reinking, instigated the collection and already bought his first artwork at sixteen years old- a self-portrait by Horst Janssen. Together with his wife Anna-Julia, the collecting pair founded the Woods Art Institute as a lively, international art and meeting place. Three values underpin the destination:
1 LIVING ART: ART IN A NEW ENVIRONMENT
The Woods Art Institute is a place for the experience, teaching and creation of art. At the heart of an 11-hectare historic park and forest, the spacious exhibition spaces offer a permanent home to installations, objects, video works and diverse ideas which take shape exploring the expression of humanity. There is art in the living grounds as a sculpture park, but there is also literally living art- like ephemeral artworks, performances and Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s Tim, who you could recently find at Hobart, Australia’s MONA. Further on this note, there is a specific connection between the two collection destinations, stay tuned for a live broadcast from WAI to MONA starting in November covering Tim. Rik Reinking acquired this tattoo in 2008.
As well as the full spectrum of living art, equally full of life on location, artists and researchers live and work together in the planned boarding house, studios and workshops. On offer is up to 18 self-catering accommodation spaces in single and double rooms, for student seminars and academic groups.
2 RAW NATURE, FINE ART: AN EXCEPTIONAL EXHIBITION CONCEPT
Deliberately planned as a place for meeting and exchange, the WAI engages in a dialogue between art, people and nature. In the future, there will be changing exhibitions in the WAI Galleries with more than 2500 square metres, while the extensive park with its historic arboretum, planned as a sculpture garden, will bring more art outside. At the Woods Art Institute, for example, works by artists such as Damien Hirst, Terence Koh, and Banksy meet picturesque groups of red oaks, golden elm trees and weeping beech trees.
Artefacts of indigenous cultures from all over the world are another part of the collection, which anchors a poly-cultural, ancestral and historical element in the Woods Art Institute. This feeds into the conversations surrounding the contemporary art on site, expanding the context of Western positions and bearing witness to the original significance of art in the context of human development.
3 ART OUTSIDE HAMBURG
As an active exhibition and production site, unspoiled and shaped landscape, the WAI is now a place for historical and new architecture, as well as events of all art fields to Hamburg and the region. Located in a western extension of the Sachsenwald Forest, the park area, designed by Rudolph Jürgens and laid out in 1914 as the country estate of a Belgian merchant, now encompasses a picturesque ensemble of thatched half-timbered houses, a functional building from the 1940s and the modern exhibition house of the WAI Galleries with the Reinking Collection. The result of the unique history of development and use is a campus that features generous green areas as well as open and alternating intimate exhibition, work and recreational rooms, surrounded by the ever-present, primal nature of the forest.