Sokolova, Lilia (2018). Post-Secular Space: On the Strange Place of Contemporary Art in Old Active Churches in Germany, 1987–2017. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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Thirty years ago two West German churches, Saint Peter in Cologne and Hospital Church in Stuttgart separately from each other commenced series of contemporary non-sacramental and non-religious art exhibitions within their sacred spaces. Today in addition to their ongoing activities, over 3000 religious institutions across Germany welcome various types of non-traditional, i.e. secular, art forms to their active ritual spaces. While the early developments of the 1980s were met with criticism and even opposition, today one can almost take for granted the presence of abstract painting or sculpture inside of an urban church, and be mildly astonished by similar objects in a rural parish. Indeed when contemporary art seems to be ubiquitous, a Christian place of worship becomes yet another location for its public appearance. However, one’s encounter with art in a hotel lobby or a train station cannot be accurately compared to experiencing art in a space of worship. In the case of Christianity, the relationship between art and religion has historically ranged from entwined partnership to extreme animosity. The character of such relations has usually reflected the social and cultural situation at a certain time and place. Likewise, the current predilection for engaging with non-religious and non-devotional examples of contemporary art among German churches can provide insights into the state of socio-cultural affairs in Germany in the beginning of the twenty-first century. By investigating prominent exhibitions and installations of contemporary art in ecclesiastical settings of Cologne, Stuttgart, and ensuing cases elsewhere in the country, this thesis deliberates emergence of a new type of space in old active churches in the twenty-first century and phenomenological meanings of this process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Sokolova, Lilialiliasokolova@hotmail.comUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-91088
Date: 26 November 2018
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 1: Kunstgeschichte, Musikwissenschaft, Medienkultur und Theater, Linguistik, IDH > Kunsthistorisches Institut
Subjects: Philosophy
Christian theology
The arts
Civic and landscape art
Uncontrolled Keywords:
sacred spaceEnglish
contemporary artEnglish
phenomenology of architectureEnglish
Kunst-Station Sankt Peter KölnGerman
Hospitalkirche StuttgartGerman
architectural atmospheresUNSPECIFIED
Date of oral exam: 14 December 2018
NameAcademic Title
Nußbaum, NorbertProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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