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Exhibition examines the use of Christian iconography in contemporary art
Georg Baselitz, die Hamburger Beweinung, 1984. Oil on canvas, 98-1/2 x 78-1/2 in. (250 x 200 cm). Hall Collection. Courtesy Hall Art Foundation © the artist.

HOLLE.- The Hall Art Foundation is presenting a group exhibition, The Passion, being held at its Schloss Derneburg location. Installed throughout the cloister of the former monastery, the show examines the use of Christian iconography in contemporary art, while paying homage to Schloss Derneburg’s long ecclesiastical history. The show features approximately one hundred paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs and works on paper by twenty-nine artists. All the works come from the Hall and Hall Art Foundation collections.

Derneburg has a long history. Once a fortified dwelling, it was ceded to the Bishopric of Hildesheim during the 12th century. For the next 700 hundred years it then served as the home of various religious orders: first Augustinian nuns, then Cistercian nuns. During the Reformation, the Protestant Dukes of Brunswick took over Derneburg and it became a Lutheran establishment for “young ladies”. With the Restoration, control of Derneburg reverted to the Bishopric of Hildesheim and the property was developed into a large and prosperous Cistercian monastery. Most of the current structures date from this period.

Derneburg was secularized at the start of the 19th century when the Prussians took control of this part of Germany. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, and following the Congress of Vienna, ownership of Derneburg passed to the Anglo-Hanoverian Dukes of Münster who engaged the Hanoverian architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves to convert the property into their country seat which they then used as a showcase for their extensive collection of art and other artifacts. In 1974, Georg and Elke Baselitz acquired Schloss Derneburg from the Münster family and it became the Baselitz home and studio for the next thirty odd years.

In 2006, the Baselitz’s sold Derneburg to the Halls who then also acquired the adjacent Derneburg Domain (which had been sold to the State of Lower Saxony by the Münsters at the end of WWII). During restorations to the property, dozens of graves were discovered in the old cloister. These were carefully cataloged as part of a detailed archaeological study. The graves (and their corporeal contents) remain in place to this day. While the Schloss is reputed to be haunted by some of these earlier inhabitants, all indications are that this spectral presence is wholly benign.

The Passion includes works by Dan Attoe, Georg Baselitz, Joe Bradley, Rafal Bujnowski, Niki de Saint Phalle, Wim Delvoye, Elmgreen and Dragset, Dan Flavin, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Martin Kippenberger, Guillermo Kuitca, David LaChapelle, Nate Lowman, Markus Lüpertz, Aleksandra Mir, Yoshitomo Nara, Hermann Nitsch, Alessandro Pessoli, Jack Pierson, Arnulf Rainer, Anselm Reyle, Gerhard Richter, Wilhelm Sasnal, Peter Saul, Andres Serrano, Tony Tasset, Bill Viola and Andy Warhol.

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