Luther lives – in the arts


Unlike the three national Luther-exhibitions Luther and the avant-garde dares to “” an artistic exploration of The works of 66 artists are now on display in Wittenberg, Germany – in a former prison.

At the beginning of the fist. Outside, in the yard, it has built in front of the viewer: bright orange, in the air, challenging, combative. A patinated bronze sculpture of sublime force. This is what is the Austrian artist Erwin Wurm thought of Martin Luther, the champion, reformer, and world mover. Worm is one of 66 international artists, this exhibition to an event in the jubilee summer of the reformation jubilee.

Threatening in the prison yard: Erwin Wurm’s fist

Luther’s Presence

“Luther and the avant-garde”, the title of the Show, is a strong Statement for the enormous presence of the reformer in our world and in the art world. Unlike the three national Luther-exhibitions, embark on theological, political, and historical tracking and more the past in view, “Luther and the avant-garde” in the present and the future. The exhibition makers to Susanne Small of the Federal art hall in Bonn and Kay Heymer from the düsseldorf Museum kunstpalast it is not a matter to portray Luther in its historical environment. For example, with the cute local flavor of the University city of Wittenberg, where he lived and taught, and eventually wrote his 95 theses, the world quake special the same triggered. No, in this exhibition, artists such as Ai Weiwei, Christian Boltanski, Alexander Kluge, Markus Lüpertz, or Jonathan Meese with the big issues, to which Luther’s reformation movement has given a new direction.

Snowden, Manning and Luther

Bright and loud: The 95 art theses of Jonathan Meese

Who today could be the reformer, has asked, for example, Achim Mohné. The answer lies in the Form of 672 square stone plates on the floor (see article image). You walk on them, are only gray and black shades. The further away you get, the more a face is – that of Edward Snowden. The 672 plates in the same 672 pixels, a bird or a drone’s perspective Snowden’s face as an iconographic portrait lights. A Whistleblower, for him, is a “Regulator of democracy,” says Mohné just on the day of the pardon of Chelsea Manning, it became known that the because disclosure of confidential military was sentenced documents in Afghanistan has been of a ridiculously high prison sentence.

Luck Handle Prison

Snowden and Manning are like Luther’s uncompromising critics of the system – and have paid such a high price for it, says Mohné. What also unites them: they make use of for their subversive activities, the latest media – book printing and the Internet. Mohné has to be positioned Snowden image in Wittenberg on the grassy area between the court and the prison. Sharper, one might comment that, even though the exhibition is rather drawn out of necessity to provisionally restored, the former Wittenberg prison. There was simply no other suitable venue in the small town, a good hour’s drive away from Berlin.

Luther is the Hero, at Least for Markus Lüpertz

But what is the handle for a fortune: With his bare, wet cells, which are converted to Künstlerkojen, it seems as if you removed the reality. Must have not felt that Luther so lonely and trapped in his monk’s cell? Existential questions come to mind here: The Chinese artist Jia provides you by means of old Chinese characters that run like a ribbon through the staircase.

The power and impotence of language

You are dead, empty of content, because they were banned during the Chinese cultural revolution from everyday life. Which culture and identity were wiped out. Power and powerlessness of language, Luther has sharpened our perception of it. But language is also a Ritual, which opens with Jörg Herald “Wittenberg gate to Paradise” in a physically-mystical experience: The self-confessed Atheist, spent two weeks in “his” cell. He carved, inspired by the Islamic “doctrine of the 99 beautiful names of God”, the 99 names for Allah in the prison wall.

“How long is my identity hide”: Yury Kharchenko ventured in Wittenberg coming out

Again and again, it sounds like the Work of 66 artists: Luther’s Act stands for freedom of conscience and tolerance. Other than Jörg Herold has Markus Lüpertz inspired by them. For him Luther is the Hero. His rainbow-colored sculpture of the “Eiferers” reveals a more unbroken view of the history of the reformer. Different Jonathan Meese, who proclaims in garish posters, and via Video of his own 95 theses. “Art is always a matter for the boss”, we read. Art and Religion do not fit together, not for Meese, the biggest enemies, because the Religion of nature from the contract with freedom. It is not surprising that Meese Luther reviled as a future-less “hangers-on”.

An Artistic Coming Out

Unlike the young German-Russian painter Yury Kharchenko, derives its distance to Luther from his Jewish family history. He touched one of the darkest pages of Luther: His anti-Semitism, Kharchenko are in direct connection to the later Nazism. “How long is my identity to hide?”, Kharchenko has written on a picture which shows him and Herschel Grynszpan in a double portrait: that of 17-year-old Jewish boy, the 7. November 1938 had perpetrated in Paris assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath.

We stand naked before us and to mankind: Stephan Balkenhol in his cell

For Yury Kharchenko, the image is a moving Moment, If you will, an artistic coming out, because Kharchenkos family was originally called Grynszpan and the probability is high that the painter and the assassin come from the same Jewish family. So open and vulnerable, as Yury Kharchenko shows here in Wittenberg prison, a few cells also Stephan Balkenhol’s “Naked man”. Balkenhol has him carved in a cedar-trunk. Defenseless this man is so fragile and fragile. The Luther-operated control of images and rituals have exiled us all from the communion of the saints, says Balkenhol. The Protestant Version of the expulsion from Paradise. And that experience unites us today: The man stands naked in front of you and the world.