The Problem of God

German Bishops’ Conference marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council in 2015

Michaël Borremans, The Bread, 2012, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerpen, © Michaël Borremanns, Foto: © Kunstsammlung NRW

The Second Vatican Council (1962 to 1965) was an important event in the history of the Catholic Church in the 20th century whose influence is still felt today. Its goal was to fundamentally reform church life, redefine its relationship with other Christian and non-Christian denominations, and open itself to modern society. The German Bishops’ Conference (GBC) will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council with a national commemorative year which highlights the spiritual legacy of the Council in a contemporary fashion. The programme aims to motivate each and every one of us to assume responsibility in society – primarily through artistically motivated works on the themes of joy and hope, sadness and fear.

In addition to a large number of culturally broad, participative events in ten regions in Germany, the K21 in Düsseldorf will present an extraordinary international exhibition project in autumn 2015. The show will feature works by some 40 internationally renowned artists (e.g.Francis Bacon, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Bill Viola, Hermann Nitsch, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt and James Turrell), which address Christian motifs, themes and issues in their own specific way. The exhibition will mainly focus on art from the past 25 years, comprised of paintings, illustrations, collages, woodcuts, sculptures, objects, performances, videos and films, and complex spatial, light and sound installations. Around one-third of the selected artworks are exemplary of the period between 1950 and 1980. Not only do they serve as important reference points for contemporary art, but also provide examples of Christian pictorial tradition. They allow us to identify the subtle infiltration of Christian symbolism in hindsight and locate these in our collective visual memory and in an art-historical context.

The goal of the exhibition is to present Christian iconography as an element of collective visual and textual memory in the fine arts of the past 60 years and enable visitors to experience its diversity. The exhibition will be supplemented by a special education programme and an international conference addressing the social relevance of Christian symbolism in contemporary culture.

Artistic director: Isabelle Malz
Artists: Georges Adéagbo, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Francis Alÿs, Francis Bacon, Michaël Borremans, Pavel Büchler, Andrea Büttner, Flávio de Carvalho, Paul Chan, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Tacita Dean, Andrew Esiebo, Harun Farocki, Katharina Fritsch, Douglas Gordon, Gary Hill, Emma Kay, Hubert Kiecol, Katarzyna Kozyra, Little Warsaw, Thomas Locher, Kris Martin, Aernout Mik, Boris Mikhailov, Santu Mofokeng, Hermann Nitsch, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Rosemberg Sandoval, James Turrell, Bill Viola, Paloma Varga Weisz, Danh Võ and Aby Warburg

„Ihr aber glaubet“

Unter diesem Motto veranstaltete die Kulturstiftung des Bundes im Juni 2015 eine internationale Konferenz über Religion und Wachstums-denken. Der interdisziplinäre und interkonfessionelle Austausch, der in Köln stattfand, hat einen regen Dialog über die Fach- und Glaubensgrenzen hinweg angestoßen.


lautet der Titel des Magazins #24 der Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Es widmet sich dem Thema im Zusammenhang der von ihr geförderten Projekte sowie mit Beiträgen u.a. von Marcia Pally und Tim Parks.

Zum Magazin # 24 (external link, opens in a new window)


Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
K21 Ständehaus

Ständehausstraße 1

40217 Düsseldorf (external link, opens in a new window)