With the decision to exhibit artworks from her private collection and in this way to initiate a public dialogue, a long-held dream of Andra Lauffs-Wegner came true. In 2014, with KAT_A she created a new forum for international contemporary art in Bad Honnef on the Rhine.
For her special exhibition concept, Andra Lauffs-Wegner chose the historical building Haus Hedwig which served as a military hospital during World War II. The approximately 400m2 exhibition space occupies the former dining hall and the adjoining space as well as the hospital’s chapel. The four-meter high walls show traces of days long past. “Here the works gain a special aura and can be regularly placed in new contexts with other works in the variety of spaces. In addition, it is very exciting to experience the artworks not only in a private environment, but also in an exhibition space steeped in history,” says Andra Lauffs-Wegner about her choice.
In each exhibition, works of both internationally established and young aspiring artists from the collection are put in new contexts in order to illuminate art historical aspects or to raise interesting questions. At Haus Hedwig works are also complemented by permanent installations and sculptures in the historical park landscape. With her exhibitions Andra Lauffs-Wegner tries carve out thematic references and instigate interaction with artistic interventions, in order to put common perceptions up for discussion. In her own curatorial style and intuitive sense for emphasis on content and form, she shows the works from her collection in dialogic contexts. “When I began collecting, I didn’t really have an underlying concept and bought and compiled art intuitively. However, I knew exactly – almost as if I were sleepwalking – where and how which work should hang or stand. With the exhibition spaces and the opportunities connected with them, the conceptual compilation of the works took on a much larger dimension,” says the art-enthusiast and mother of two grown children about the way her passion for collecting led her to become an initiator of exhibitions. In earliest encounters with the art world, she was able to acquire the necessary eye and gather the relevant practical experience. Already as a child she accompanied her father on visits to museums and galleries and grew up in the midst of her parents’ first-rate collection, which included significant works by European artists of the 1960s and 70s, Pop Art, Arte Povera and Minimalism. As a university student she bought her first own work, “Sleeping Woman” by George Segal, which was quickly followed by a graphic by Robert Rauschenberg. Today, as a graduate in business and art history, who already at the end of the 1970s wrote a prescient thesis entitled “Modern art as a capital investment,” she is mainly interested in fine art photography and conceptual work. She collects works by both established and aspiring young artists. “It is exciting to discover new positions, to engage in a direct exchange with the artists and to see how they develop,” says Andra Lauffs-Wegner enthusiastically."
She gains inspiration in the exchange of ideas in various art committees and in conversations with other art collectors and art lovers as well. “I love examining artistic perspectives, thinking about how art is defined, what societal effects it has and how artists can be promoted. Art is an absolutely central part of my life. In dealing with artworks, artists, gallery owners and other collectors your own horizon is constantly expanded. Art is an enormous enrichment and I am fascinated by the idea of sharing these experiences and the knowledge won in dialogues with other people.” .
That is why Andra Lauffs-Wegner likes showing visitors personally through the exhibitions in her presentation spaces and the surrounding park. The private and truly personal framework of KAT_A is a conscious choice, offering direct access to art and inciting an in-depth and far-reaching confrontation with the artworks. In direct proximity of these works, there are opportunities for interesting discussions and intensive contemplation. Conversations with artists, readings and special events lead to encounters and stimulating discourse. And with this mission fostering communication, KAT_A has become a vibrant center for discourse on contemporary art on the Rhine.