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  • Kunsthaus Dresden, Foto: David Brandt
  • Eröffnung von "Lines/Linien", Kunsthaus Dresden, 2013
  • Hintereingang, Lichtinstallation: Sebastian Hempel, "Lichtwellen", 2013, Architektur: Büro Kessel und Züger, Foto: David Brandt
  • Eröffnung von "Lines/Linien", Kunsthaus Dresden, 2013
  • Eröffnung von "Lines/Linien", Kunsthaus Dresden, 2013
  • Eröffnung von "Lines/Linien", Kunsthaus Dresden, 2013
  • Kunsthausplatz nach der Fertigstellung
  • Performance "Halten1" von Anna Till und Romy Kißling, zu "Lines/Linien", 2013. Foto: David Pinzer
  • Performance "Halten1" von Anna Till und Romy Kißling, zu "Lines/Linien", 2013. Foto: David Pinzer
  • Performance "Halten1" von Anna Till und Romy Kißling, zu "Lines/Linien", 2013. Foto: David Pinzer

Kunsthaus Dresden, photo: David Brandt

A municipal gallery for contemporary art, the Kunsthaus Dresden endeavors to offer a broad public insight into the art world through changing exhibitions of contemporary art. The exhibitions are conceptualized and carried out by a small team and address specific and typically current topics of contemporary art oriented towards an international spectrum. One of the main objectives of the Kunsthaus Dresden is to make artistic forms of expression and content more accessible to a broad public.

As part of its exhibition concept, the Kunsthaus Dresden develops individual projects as well as longer-term topic series. The series Geschichte / History and Notes from the Empire focus on memory processes as the subject of contemporary art and the relationship between art and history. The series wire/less reflects current transitions in our thinking caused by the possibilities afforded by digital media technology, while also illuminating the artistic reflection of our cultural and natural resources based on our immediate material environment.

The Kunsthaus Dresden’s changing offer boasts many concrete means of access for visitors to the diverse exhibitions. These exhibitions simultaneously provide impetus and establish connections and networking opportunities between Dresden’s young cultural scene and the interested public and supraregional discourses and selected players in international contemporary art.

Kunst = Bildung

The potential of contemporary art with respect to aesthetic and cultural education forms another emphasis in project development at Kunsthaus Dresden and has led to ongoing projects such as Walden #3, Vot ken you mach mobil and White Cube / Black Box — the latter a custom program of the Kunsthaus in cooperation with youths and in close collaboration with architects, designers and artists in Dresden. Find out more at www.white-cube-black-box.de


In addition to our regular discussion/guided tour offer for current exhibitions, (see Guided tours), we also organize cross-genre events relating to the foci of exhibitions. Please see our current program for information on discussions, films, lectures or performances and admission.


In 2010, a new plaza featuring the Kunsthaus at its center was realized based on a design by Jozef Legrand and at the initiative of the Kunsthaus Dresden on behalf of the Dresden Department of City Planning. Three long curved banks, based on the shape of arabesques. Three-dimensional drawings, they frame the trees that stand in the center of the plaza and invite the passer-by to climb, balance or brush a hand along their form. Lines in the pavement establish abstract connections to the building’s surroundings and reference the urban space. Words set in the pavement establish connections between the subjective experience of space and the urban environment.

Two permanent installations were created for the building’s exterior facade. In close cooperation with architects of the firm Kessel & Züger, Dresden-born and -based artist Sebastian Hempel developed a new light installation for the Kunsthaus‘ rear facade. Equipped with sensors, the LED-based installation reacts to the movements of pedestrians or visitors as potential users and agents at once. Their movements become triggers as they „set the artistic experience into motion with their own bodies. Only the physical presence of the user completes the artwork, which can really only happen at the moment of its viewing.“ (Holger Birkholz)

The architectural firm Kessel & Züger, which remodeled the front entrance of the Kunsthaus Dresden a number of years ago, collaborated with Sebastian Hempel to conceive a spatial design and projecting roof for the new rear entrance.

An architectural plastic artwork by artist Karolina Freino titled „SOS (Save our Souls)“ is positioned at the building’s south facade. The installation consists of nine mirrored plastic elements, refers to the cultural mandate held by the Kunsthaus Dresden and references — in an indirect, poetic fashion — questions of value change and cultural mandate in a changing society.

The international Morse code signal SOS is a distress signal understood all over the world: three dits, three dahs, three dits, · · · − − − · · · became the worldwide standard in 1906 at the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention in Berlin. Rendered in three dimensions, the convex surfaces of the Morse code signal mirrors the vicinity, which alters depending on where the viewer stands. The viewer of the artwork — an experience rendered immediate by the mirror effect of the convex surfaces — always remains „in the picture“ her- or himself. The piece sensitizes to the translational ability of art, whose internationalization began at about the same time as that of radio communication and which describes an irreversible process of the globalized modern age.


The history of the present Kunsthaus Dresden begins in 1981. In what is now the Kunsthaus Dresden, a gallery called "Galerie Rähnitzgasse" was established for exhibition purposes and transformed the premises — a residential house built in 1740 a style typical of Dresden Neustadt — into an exhibition building.
From 1984-90, the building was the site of the "Zentrum für Kunstausstellungen (German: Center for Art Exhibitions)" — the IX. and X. Kunstausstellung der DDR (German: Art Exhibition of the DDR) were planned logistically from here, and part of this large-scale exhibition was presented in the building's exhibition spaces. In the years between these events, frequently changing exhibitions of contemporary art were shown here, in part in cooperation with foreign partners.
After German reunification, the Dresden city council determined that the location should continue to be used for contemporary art under the condition that a platform arise for current movements in art oriented toward an international spectrum. Before, the city's cultural offerings were dedicated mainly to national and local artistic work. The objective now was to establish a connection between the local cultural and art scene and the international scene and current events.
This realignment meant massive cuts in staffing from the earlier 10 to in the year 2002 three permanent employees. Until 1995 during the conceptual transitional period, the Kunsthaus Dresden was overseen by the Dresden Department of Culture, with the goal of internationalizing the exhibition program and founding a new identity for the establishment as an exhibition venue for contemporary art. This was advanced further by the appointment of the first academically and professionally qualified director to the Kunsthaus in the mid 1990s.
Since the early 1990s, the Kunsthaus Dresden has offered concise insight into current international and regional trends and developments of contemporary art.
Harald Kunde was the director of the Kunsthaus from 1995 to 2001. Since the spring of 2003, the Kunsthaus has been under the direction of Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz. From 2007 to 2009, the Kunsthaus was led by Susanne Weiß in parental leave substitution. Dr. Petra Reichensperger led the Kunsthaus in parental leave substitution from 2011 to 2013. Since April 2013, Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz has reassumed direction of the Kunsthaus. Since 2018 the team consists of four permanent employees.