Series of conversations with curators and guests in and around of Cologne about currents projects and questions towards contemporary art
Q: This year the "Synagogue Stommeln Art Projects" celebrate their 25th anniversary presenting a joint project by Walid Raad & SITU Studio as their annual show. What does it mean to exhibit art in the historically and cultural-politically loaded space of the synagogue?
A: To show art in such a particular place means to be always aware of the context which defines - or at least is involved in defining - each art work being displayed in this space. The art must be strong enough to withstand this. A work of art - if creating tension with the space or even bearing up against it - will always be more interesting than another one only illustrating what is present anyway. It may be political correct, but is in fact dismay kitsch - and no longer art. Actually, it is about continuously disappointing expectations, and not doing what is expected and what seems appropriate. Hence, the critical approach to the space can remain exciting. The current project by Walid Raad & SITU Studio is only one of many examples I will talk about.
Angelika Schallenberg is director of the cultural office of the City of Pulheim and since 1991 she curates the Synagogue Art Projects in Stommeln, today a part of Pulheim close to Cologne. The synagogue is one of the few synagogues in Germany that were neither destroyed during the pogroms of 1938 nor razed during the post-war surge in urban renewal. In the last years a number of renowned artists have realised exceptional site-specific art works, lately such as Santiago Sierra, Maurizio Cattelan, Daniel Buren, Gregor Schneider und Anthony Cragg.
Funding and Support
Cultural Office of the City of Cologne
Photo: Thorsten Hallscheidt