The Center for Persecuted Arts is a museum of discovery dedicated exclusively to artists whose opportunities for development and works were blocked, prevented, or annihilated by the dictatorships of the last century and totalitarian regimes up to the present day. It is a cross-genre museum, and its Collection of Art and Literature tells of lost, forgotten, and barely considered works of art, stories, and fates.
Together with the documenta archive, the Solingen Center for Persecuted Arts is looking back at the beginnings of the major exhibition in parallel with documenta fifteen in the spring and summer of 2022. Both institutions ask what role documenta and its founders played in the processes of canonization in the visual arts of the postwar period.
For what reasons did numerous artists from a heterogeneous and diverse group that had emerged before the National Socialists came to power in 1933 fall into oblivion after 1945? A comparative look at the Vierte Große Kunstausstellung Kassel(1929) and the first documenta there (1955), with Arnold Bode responsible for both exhibitions, reveals the importance of the documenta for these canonization processes: 30 artists from the Solingen collection “Bürgerstiftung für verfolgte Künste” (Citizens’ Foundation for Persecuted Arts) were represented at the 1929 exhibition-1955 there were only three. The goal is to partially reconstruct the 1929 exhibition and to make the structure of forgetting visible via statistics, biographies, and diagrams.
Funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
L’chaim means: Here’s to life! Our festival Auf ein Wort welcomes Jewish authors and actors to a lively dialogue. Where reading and life coincide, food and drink are not to be missed – so in May 2022 we will discuss, recite and dine together as part of three salon readings.
Dates: May 10, 2022: Olga Grjasnowa and Tomer Gardi, May 17, 2022: Dmitrij Kapitelman and Mati Shemoelof, May 24, 2022: Lena Gorelik and Adrian Kasnitz.
On Tuesdays at 17.00, when the museum closes for visitors, its doors remain open: We invite guests of the salon readings to tea and coffee in the high council chamber of the former Gräfrath town hall, just in time for tea time. From 18.00 o’clock reading in the salon.
Tickets: 12 Euros each event, reduced 6 Euros, Combined Ticket for all three events 30 Euros, reduced 15 Euros. Registration required via ✉ or solingen-live.de.
The festival is part of
JLID2021 Jewish Life in Germany funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community.
The exhibition stronger still was conceived by a group of curators on the occasion of the festival “Re:Writing the Future” of the Allianz Kulturstiftung, produced with the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin and shown there in the 5th Berlin Autumn Salon 2021. In the fall/winter of 2022/2023, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, stronger still will be expanded and exhibited at the Center for Persecuted Arts in Solingen, where it will be placed in a dialogue with the museum’s collection.
stronger still. exhibition – installation – talks was a project of exhibition and discourse events at the Maxim Gorki Theater and showed the dynamics of contemporary resistance, the experience of imprisonment, and in what ways critical voices survive this ruthless and useless imprisonment – and often emerge from it stronger. The Center for Persecuted Arts would like to continue this discourse and accompany the exhibition with readings and discussion events, but also invite the artists and curators involved so far to select works from the museum’s collection and add them dialogically to the previous works like a commentary.
An exhibition of the Museum and the Association of Friends and Patrons of the Center for Persecuted Art scurated by Nataliia Volianiuk, journalist, Director of Regional Coverage, PBC, Kiev and Olena Tanchynets, Director of the Cultural and Educational Center “TepLytsia” in Brovary near Kiev supported by the team of the Center for Persecuted Arts and the photographer Uli Preuss.
Photojournalist Maks Levin has documented the war in Ukraine for eight years. His photographs are already icons of this war. For example, the German magazine “Der Spiegel” depicted Levin’s photo of a destroyed apartment block on March 5 as its cover. Maks Levin had been missing since March 13 and was found killed on April 1.
Opening April 28, 2022, 6:00 p.m.
Greeting and reception
Sylvia Löhrmann, former Minister of State, Chairwoman of the Association of Friends and Patrons of the Center for Persecuted Arts
Introduction to war photography
Uli Preuss, photographer and on the board of the Association of Friends and Patrons of the Center for Persecuted Arts
The exhibition will be introduced by the curators Nataliia Volianiuk and Olena Tanchynets in conversation with the Center’s curator Birte Fritsch and the director of the Center for Persecuted Arts Jürgen Kaumkötter.
On display will be 30 photographs by Maks Levin from February and March 2022, as well as 10 photos from the pro-European demonstrations on the Maidan in 2013/14 and the beginning of the war in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
In the estate of the artist Oscar Zügel (1892-1968), art pieces, written self-testimonies, photographs, letters and much more can be discovered. All these materials are testimonies to his life, work, and the ups and downs of exile. The estate will now be presented to the public for the first time. The focus is on the artist, whose life was defined by several breackpoints as a result of National Socialism, marked by new beginnings across several continents.
The exhibition also provides space for reflection and self-questioning: How do narratives of self and others about the artist relate to each other, and what responsibility do we have as a museum when it comes to remembrance work? The exhibition will focus on the negotiation processes in remembrance work that we often face as researchers in museums.
Every Sunday, the Center for Persecuted Arts offers public tours of its exhibitions. Pre-registration is not necessary.
11:30 a.m. – guided tour of the permanent exhibition
2:00 p.m. – Guided tour through the temporary exhibition
You are also welcome to request a private guided tour from us. We also offer various topics and workshops for school classes.
Please contact us by mail
or by phone +49 212 258 1418.
For the visit of the exhibitions as well as for events the mask obligation, distance and hygiene regulations of the Corona protection regulation of the country North Rhine-Westphalia apply furthermore.
In the Center for Persecuted Arts, pictures, books, journals, documents, and photographs tell little-known stories of flight, expulsion, and persecution—but also of how art can give hope. In the permanent exhibition of the museum’s Collection of Art and Literature and the Civic Foundation for Persecuted Arts – Else Lasker-Schüler Center – Gerhard Schneider Art Collection, as well as in the archive, 3,500 objects can be discovered on more than 700 square meters.
Immediately after its founding, the Center for Persecuted Arts expanded its forms of expression through the feature-length documentary film Kichka. Life Is a Cartoon, produced in cooperation with the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art Kraków. Since its founding, the center has also collaborated on the ARD project Auschwitz und Ich (Auschwitz and Me). The accompaniment of projects, exhibitions, and events through films has become an integral part of the museum’s program. Here, you can find many of our films and video contributions…
Jürgen Kaumkötter, M.A.
Director, General Manager Zentrum für verfolgte Künste gGmbH
Birte Fritsch, M.A.
Anna Schröfel, M.A.
Susanne Vieten, M.A.
Registry, exhibition secretariat
Alexandra Peter, M.A.
Head of Art Education
Marielena Buonaiuto, M.A.
Research Fellow, Conservator
Hanna Sauer, M.A.
For museums, it is an obligation to actively participate in shaping an inclusive society. We want to be an “open museum for everyone!” Unfortunately, there are still far too many barriers; and, for the past year, we have been working on a series of measures for greater accessibility, inclusion, and diversity at the Center for Persecuted Arts, made possible by funding for cultural networks and institutions from the Social and Cultural Foundation of the Rhineland Regional Council (LVR). In order to be able to create a pluralistic, participatory place for all, our goal is to identify, make visible, and break down barriers and inhibition thresholds in the museum.
On the occasion of the museum’s fifth birthday, an association was founded on November 6, 2020 to support and enrich the program. Sebastian Greif, Barbara Antonia Löcherbach, Sylvia Löhrmann (Chairwoman), and Uli Preuß were elected to the board.
The founding of this association would not have been possible without the commitment of the citizens of Solingen. The aim of the association is to bring together interested people from Solingen and the surrounding area and to help shape the cultural life of the city. Would you also like to get involved in the newly founded association and support our museum? Then please contact