There are countless theoretical treatises and debates about what art can and cannot do, and even the major citers disagree about it. Is art the strongest form of individualism known to the world, as Oscar Wilde put it? Is she, as Goethe believes, the mediator of the unspeakable? Or is she both in the end?
Art, at least that’s what the people of Zornedinger have now decided, is exactly what the Protestant and Catholic churches need in order to move closer together. The ecumenical circle, consisting of Zornedingers from both denominations, meets several times a year. In 2013 they started their first joint campaign.
Every year, the Christian churches in Germany, Austria and Switzerland set an annual motto – a verse from the Bible that is intended to carry through the twelve months. For 2024, this slogan is: “Let everything you do be done in love.” It comes from First Corinthians. So far, the slogans have been taken up in both places of worship during church services and masses. This year, says Günther Woehlke, board member of the Protestant Church and member of the ecumenical circle, they wanted to do something a little different than usual in Zorneding: “It’s nice if there’s something like a common thread that runs through the year.”
Visual art has so far been somewhat underrepresented in Zornedingen churches. Therefore, a call was launched in the community newsletter and addressed people directly: artists from both denominations were asked to submit works for this year’s slogan. The task was to illustrate the somewhat abstract saying. The works will be shown first in the Catholic and then in the Protestant church in Zorneding and thus be a unifying element.
Twelve artists, mostly from the Ebersberg district, are now making around 20 works available for the campaign. How the slogan was implemented was deliberately left open. “It was important to us that we get a feeling as to whether such a saying is current,” says Woehlke. The issue would be discussed at all levels, from individual love to global responsibility. The youngest artists come from Hamburg, says Woehlke: The grandchildren of one of the participants took their pens and conjured up a bookworm on the page, engrossed in a book. Because reading, that much is clear, can also be done in love.
Stefanie Dittmer, an artist from Kirchheim, also took part; she made her picture “Hope” available for the campaign. “The topic spoke to me straight away,” she says. She created her work with oil and pastel crayons and combined them with acrylic. As with most of her pictures, “Hope” only acquired its meaning and dimension in retrospect: “Ideas are not the starting point of my work.” Often these would only develop in the course of creation. Stefanie Dittmer also likes the idea of the exhibition being shown in both churches: “An important idea to advance ecumenism.”
The opening will take place on Saturday, January 20th at 6 p.m. in the Martinsstadl Zorneding. On Sunday, January 21st, the exhibition can be seen after the Catholic service until 1 p.m. The pictures will then move to the Protestant St. Christopher’s Church, where the show will open with a festive service on Sunday, January 28th. Guests are welcome until 5 p.m. on this day. The works will then be on display for the public for around six months.