Sacred Business



In Lübeck this autumn, you can experience an incredibly exciting art project by Christian Jankowski, which is presented in a video installation at the Overbeck Society. In this first part of the project you will get in touch with the concept by accompanying five pastors In the videos, they walk through the shops and spaces that will be hosted in their church premises from 22nd October.

Yes, you read correctly:

Stores and a club will receive their clientele for two weeks in churches.

The new video installation by action artist Christian Jankowski - Sacred Business in Lübeck

Behind the project is Berlin-based action and conceptual artist Christian Jankowski. Last Friday, Part I of Sacred Business was opened in the garden of the Overbeck Society in Lübeck in the presence of the artist. Christian Jankowski was represented in numerous national and international exhibitions and biennials. You can see his work at the Tate in London, the MOCA in Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In one of his interviews, he said:

The common thread in my work is certainly to put people in a situation they don’t know and then test their reactions”.

Christian Jankowski

And it is precisely this thread that Jankowski is also following in Lübeck. His Lübeck art project is inspired by the proximity of church, market, art and everyday life in earlier centuries .

For centuries, faith and the church were a natural part of almost everyone’s life. You have to imagine that church services in the Middle Ages lasted many hours. Few people understood the liturgies, which were held in Latin until the Reformation. Animals roamed about, the dead were buried, you met acquaintances. The faithful came to listen to the sound of the organ, to pray before the altars and to gaze in awe at the murals depicting biblical stories and metaphors.

Art is my religion

Christian Jankowski

What is it like today? Churches are often just cultural monuments. People admire them, take selfies, read a few paragraphs about the history of the building. But is this really true? What do people identify with? What does religion mean to them?Art is my religion, is Christian Jankowski’s answer. Hearing what others’ answers are is the core of the experiment. Jankowski says he wants to take people out of their bubbles for a short period of time. ““Let everyone be a part of it and don’t be afraid to talk about it.”

Sacred Business Part I

For the first part of his project, Christian Jankowski invited five pastors to visit the shops and facilities they will be hosting from 22nd October. These visits were recorded in video sequences in which the church representatives at times move silently through the premises, but then also share thoughts with the viewers, quote Bible texts and make references to faith.

Pastor Bernd Schwarze, for example, moves through the bolia furniture store, sits down on a couch, drops onto a bed. Pastor Akkermann-Dorn takes a measured step along the shelves of a Landwege organic supermarket and takes a closer look at some of the products. Pastor Robert Pfeifer is moving in the Treibsand Club under a strobe light in front of the logo of the inclusive Superkunst Festival. Pastor Jedeck explores the latest technology at JessenLenz.

The new video installation by action artist Christian Jankowski - Sacred Business in Lübeck
The new video installation by action artist Christian Jankowski - Sacred Business in Lübeck

Provocation by Christian Jankowski ?

Maybe. For me, this project is an inspiring stimulus to illuminate my own attitude toward the church and faith and their place in my life.

At the opening, it was said that not all Old Town churches had been enthusiastic about the idea of bringing stores and services into their premises. Wichern Church is to host a clothing store. (Not quite sure yet if it will work out). Pastor Gauer speaks in a community letter about the planned project that here only seemingly two worlds collide. That shopping has to do with issues such as human rights, environmental protection and respect for human dignity – in other words, with external and internal appearances.

The video installation in the gleaming white rooms of the Overbeck Society leaves plenty of room for what is said and seen to have an effect. And to discuss when the opportunity arises. In any case, I spontaneously got into conversation with two ladies completely unknown to me about the video content and the term “sacrilege”.

I’m already incredibly excited about Part II: the Sacred Business at St. Mary’s, St. Jakob’s, St. Peter’s, the Evangelical Reformed Church, and the Wichern Church Parish, which you should definitely get to know starting October 22, 2023. Until then, Part I can be viewed at the Overbeck Society, which is currently only accessible via the small park named Bürgergärten. This map shows you how to get there. The art pavillion is open daily (except Mondays) from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

The new video installation by action artist Christian Jankowski - Sacred Business in Lübeck

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written by:

Barbara Schwartz