PICTURALITY vs. Piety

The Kunsthalle Osnabrück is regarded as one of the most beautiful – and the most demanding – exhibition rooms for contemporary art in north Germany. Located in a former Dominican church with a converted cloister complex, this is where regional, national and increasingly also international artists have been exhibiting their work since 1992 in a total area of around 1,500 square metres.

 

Whilst the former cloister rooms provide artists with a neutral ambience, one which allows itself to be made use of in many ways like a sort of White Cube, the nave which is flooded with daylight thanks to the high windows is predestined for site-specific artistic interventions with its imposing dimensions and height of twenty-one metres.

 

In order to emphasize more strongly to the vision of the visitor the unique nature of the exhibition rooms themselves, the Kunsthalle received a special sort of facelift during the summer months of 2014: alongside hard-working crafts people, amongst whose tasks was dismantling walls in order to once reveal the original architecture more fully once more, Michael Beutler, the artist known internationally for his site-specific works intervened in the reshaping in conjunction with the architect Etienne Descloux. Course-setting in this was the way they totally dispensed with artificial lighting in the nave of the church. Instead, a constantly-changing perception of space is provided by daylight which comes through the windows from which the dark curtains have been removed. This light is stronger or weaker depending on the time of year and time of day.

 

These unusual measures were initiated by Dr. Julia Draganović. After ten years of activities for various art institutions in the USA and Italy she took over the helm in September 2013 from André Lindthorst, Head of the Kunsthalle for many years. In April 2014, as the newly-elected President of the IKT International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, Dr. Draganović also brought the Chair of the Representation of Interests for Curators of Contemporary Art for three years to Osnabrück.