Work by Louise Bourgeois titled Arch of Hysteria


Ecstasy is one of the oldest and most astonishing anthropologically universal phenomena, whose evaluation is continuously changing and expanding. In its cultural significance and complexity, ecstasy also entered the visual arts and engaged in extraordinary alliances with the related disciplines of music and dance. Drawing from paradigmatic examples from antiquity to the present, the exhibition illuminated the various spiritual, political, psychological, social, sexual, and aesthetic implications of euphoric and intoxicated states between asceticism and excess.

With art at its foundation, the exhibition introduced the viewer to the various ways that artists have approached ecstatic states—from pictorial representations to video and installation works to kinesthetic experiences. The visitor could therefore not only comprehend but also experience the relevance and historical development of ecstasy. Music plays a central role here, as it unifies transcendental experience in all cultures. Rhythmic sounds, repetitive movements, and visual stimuli prepare the groundwork for reaching a state of "being beside oneself."

In order to show the arts' engagement with the phenomenon of ecstasy beyond the works in the exhibition, the Kunstmuseum cooperated with a number of Stuttgart's cultural institutions.

Curators Ulrike Groos, Markus Müller (bureau müller, Berlin), Anne Vieth
Research assistance Sarah Donata Schneider
In collaboration with Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

Sponsored by Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, BW-Bank, Allianz, Freunde des Kunstmuseums Stuttgart, Ströer
In cooperation with Staatsoper Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Ballett, Schauspiel Stuttgart, Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, SWR Vokalensemble, Fitz! – Zentrum für Figurentheater, Volkshochschule Stuttgart, Katholisches Bildungswerk Stuttgart, Literaturhaus Stuttgart, Release Stuttgart e.V., ComputerSpielSchule Stuttgart, Stadtmedienzentrum Stuttgart, Climax Institutes, Frau Blum – Boutique Erotique
Further stations Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (April 4–August 4, 2019)


Marina Abramović, Pablo Amaringo, Eleanor Antin, Jean Benner, Charlotte Berend-Corinth, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Joseph Beuys, Antoine Bourdelle, Louise Bourgeois, Günter Brus, Bernardo Cavallino, Larry Clark, Lovis Corinth, Giovanni Battista Crespi, Salvador Dalí, Rineke Dijkstra, Otto Dix, Marlene Dumas, Raymond Duncan, Hugo Erfurth, Klaus Eschen, Nan Goldin, Dan Graham, Vivian Greven, Andreas Gursky, Ayrson Heráclito, Ferdinand Hodler, Ludwig von Hofmann, Carsten Höller, Christoph Keller, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Joachim Koester, Gérard de Lairesse, Wifredo Lam, La Monte Young, Henri Laurens, Charles LeBrun, Mark Leckey, Gustav Machatý, Madame d'Ora, Victor Magito, Albert Maignan, André Masson, Henri Michaux, Emil Nolde, Jürgen Ovens, Paul Pfeiffer, Pablo Picasso, Sigmar Polke, Man Ray, Aura Rosenberg, Gregor Rozanski, Charlotte Rudolph, August Scherl, Egon Schiele, Algirdas Šeškus, Jeremy Shaw, Valdete Ribeiro da Silva, Dash Snow, Luis Casanova Sorolla, Franz von Stuck, Wolfgang Tillmans, Israhel van Meckenem, Moses van Uyttenbroeck, Gustave Vanaise, Andy Warhol, Hannah Wilke, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Marian Zazeela, Francisco de Zurbarán