Fasting cloth by Ursula Sax | Covering the altarpiece | Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche Prenzlauer Berg | 08.03.2019

The Berlin gallery Semjon Contemporary cordially invites you to the Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg. On Friday, 8 March 2019, at the beginning of Lent, the altarpiece will be covered with a Lenten or Fasting cloth designed by the artist Ursula Sax.

Lent cloths are also called hunger cloths. They are traditionally used in Catholic and Protestant churches during the 40-day Lent before Easter to conceal the image of Jesus, e.g. on the cross. In some areas the entire altar is covered, so that a liturgy can only be followed with hearing, not seeing. The aim is, among other things, to extend physical fasting to spiritual fasting and to bring to mind the mystery of Christ’s resurrection. (Editorial note)

The Lent Cloth by the artist Ursula Sax, Photo: Markus Rheinfurth

“In 68 years, the sculptor Ursula Sax has created a work of great versatility of means, methods and materials. Early on, at the age of 15, she began her studies at the Stuttgart Art Academy and at the age of 20 came to Berlin, where Hans Uhlmann became her most important teacher and at the age of 25 she was able to establish herself as a freelance artist. A career of seemingly unbelievable stringency today. Since then, she has created a work as an ongoing exploration of the contemporary possibilities of the sculptural without ever leaving sculpture as a tangible material object. As a professor, Ursula Sax has initiated sculpture students of several generations, first in Berlin and Braunschweig, then from 1993 to 2000 at the Academy in Dresden, where she received the city’s Grand Art Prize last year.

Ursula Sax develops her work in intimate dialogue with the materials to which she devotes herself at the time. She has worked on almost everything that is malleable: The hard – stone, ceramics, porcelain, bronze, steel and above all wood, like the soft – silk, wool, felt and any other textiles. She experiences space as a mentally active dimension of sculptural work. Not in the sense of aesthetic harmony, but as an excitingly contradictory relationship between space and sculpture.

The best known work in urban space is the elegantly curved “Looping” (1992), that 19-metre-high and 50-metre-long, bright yellow tubular steel spiral that spans a faceless urban space at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

Looping 1992, Photo Reinhard Friedrich, Ursula Sax

In recent years, paper has become the preferred material. Among others, the group of works “Fasten- und andere Tücher” (fasting and other cloths) was created, abstract structures made of coloured layers of paper. Paper is a light and fragile material, it is transient and wood is mostly its basic material. In view of the crucifixes that Ursula Sax repeatedly forms from simple wrapping paper, these qualities acquire a metaphysical quality, just as moments of time, transience, and transcendence play an increasingly important role in the sculptor’s most recent work.”
Matthias Flügge

Ursula Sax
1935 born in Backnang/Württemberg, Germany
1950-55 Study of sculpture, State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart
1956-60 Hochschule für Bildende Künste Berlin, master student
from 1960 freelance in Berlin
1985/86 Guest professorship HdK Berlin
Guest Professorship HdK Berlin
Professorship HfBK Braunschweig
Professorship HfBK Dresden
2000 End of teaching activity, freelance again
2013 Move to Berlin

This year – 100 years of Bauhaus – Ursula Sax’s large stage play “Geometrisches Ballett (Hommage à Oskar Schlemmer)” will be premiered in a new stage version at Radialsystem Berlin on the initiative of her gallery Semjon Contemporary. It also opens the Bauhaus Festival Dessau and will be shown as a Dresden version on the reconstructed Appia stage in the Festspielhaus Hellerau (more information:

Dance Sculptures by Ursula Sax

FASTING CLOTH by Ursula Sax at the Paul-Gerhardt-Church

WHEN? Friday, 8 March 2019, 6 p.m.
Opening with Matthias Flügge, art historian and director of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste  Dresden, and priestess Jasmin El‐Manhy

Musical arrangement: Chamber choir enchore
Performance of the Mass for double choir by Frank Martin

WHERE? Paul‐Gerhardt‐Kirche, Wisbyer Straße 7, 10439 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg

Exhibition period: Friday, 8 March to Easter Saturday, 20 April 2019

Opening hours during the installation Monday-Friday, 3 – 6 p.m. and to the church services

The altar covering is curated by Sabine Herrmann, Klaus Killisch and Markus Rheinfurth. It is an event of the Protestant parish of Prenzlauer Berg Nord.

This post is also available in: Deutsch

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