The splendidly furnished Schleswig-Holstein Barock residence Schloss Eutin will open the special exhibition “Symptom: Barock” in the summer of 2023 with four contemporary women artists. Fascinated by the furnishings and the collection of the Barock residence, Margret Eicher, Simone Demandt, Rebecca Stevenson and Myriam Thyes make direct reference to the site with their interventions in the historic castle tour.
Image above: Rebecca Stevenson, Dreamers, 2019, Wax and Resin
Their works are in dialogue with the already historically existing art treasures of the castle. For some years now, the artists have been dealing with the thematic repertoire and aesthetics of the Barock, which they see reflected in world-political as well as cultural phenomena: through friction between rationality and highly individualistic beliefs as well as through increasingly present end-time fantasies that lead to disruptions within society and its cohesion.
In Eutin Palace, the architecture and furnishings, the dreams and the reality of the Barock are still present today. They trigger clear emotions in visitors, and yet the level of meaning often remains buried. Images and signs are not immediately comprehensible after centuries. In the context of the fully furnished castle museum, it is particularly appealing that the four artists work in completely different media. In the sense of the Barock principle of “curiositas”, this results in diverse and varied references between historical and contemporary works: sometimes their relationship lies in the material, sometimes in the theme, sometimes it is purely conceptual. Visitors can find their own approach on the level of sensual-aesthetic enjoyment and are always encouraged to question the works of art and to re-read their artistic, political and social positions.
Margret Eicher’s media tapestries establish an exciting and unmasking dialogue with the Eutin tapestries of the 17th century. The image power of the mass media is explicitly demonstrated here, and Eicher’s tapestries, elaborately digitally collaged and computer-woven, miraculously make the baroque textiles legible again. Demonstrations of power politics and the manifestation of ideological convictions become visible both today and yesterday.
Simone Demandt’s object photography negates preservation, securing or the call to affirmative recognition. It questions, unsettles, evokes the magical or the groundless. When, for example, her photographs of fragmented hands and feet of baroque sculptures join the portrait paintings of the palace, the imperious representation of the ruler suddenly changes its expression – the question of humanity becomes possible.
As a sculptor, Rebecca Stevenson works mainly with wax. Her technique refers back to baroque wax sculptures, but at first also recalls the glossy perfect imagery of social media: smooth skin, bright colours, shiny surfaces characterise her still lifes with dead game and fresh fruit. The works are cut open or even torn open and fleshy roses and fruits emerge from the openings. Pleasure and disturbance arise simultaneously in these virulently modern memento mori, which are intended to unfold their effect in the historic kitchens and dining rooms of Eutin Castle.
Today’s media landscape also benefits from the psychological and social potency of political and religious symbolism in the Baroque period, which Myriam Thyes addresses in her video works and photographs. For the baroque stucco ceilings of Eutin Castle, for example, she will further develop various of her works and both exhibit and confront the preconceived Christian and Eurocentric perspective of the builders, the former inhabitants and today’s viewers with their limitations.
In close cooperation with the artists, Schloss Eutin opens up in the narration of its history and gives space to alternative forms of interpretation. Fundamental to this is the accompaniment of the exhibition by intensive educational and mediation work, both analogue and digital.
The Schloss Eutin
Schloss Eutin (> Eutin Castle), the jewel on the Baltic coast of Schleswig-Holstein, is one of the most important cultural monuments in northern Germany. For over 800 years, this building was a hub of northern European history and still today, with its intact ensemble of palace, forecourt and gardens, offers the ideal image of a miniature residence of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Foundation Schloss Eutin
In 1992, the Schloss Eutin Foundation was established as a foundation under public law. The state of Schleswig-Holstein financed a comprehensive renovation of the castle and has been responsible for its maintenance ever since. In 1997, the first rooms were made accessible as a museum, and in 2006 the museum was opened to its current extent, welcoming around 30,000 visitors a year with a rich programme.
Opening: Friday, 9 June 2023 from 6 pm
Duration: Saturday, 10 June until Sunday, 8 October 2023
June, September, October: Tue to Sun 11 am – 5 pm
July + August: Mon to Sun 10 am – 6 pm