Spatial Drawing EXISTENZ at Felix-Nussbaum-Haus


The center of existence, the “brain” of the space, is here the “distorted” cube, whose window glows red. Male voices can be heard from the inside; we hear excerpts from letters written by Felix Nussbaum. Whispered and spoken, the excerpts overlap to form a sound collage that allows the articulation of thoughts to be experienced acoustically, before they can be read individually on the walls of the “Raum für Gegenwart”.

Centrally placed on the “brain’s” wall is an ancient symbolic form; today we know it as the Star of David. Not only does it remind us of persecution, for millennia it has stood for the unity of the spiritual (here, the white lines) and the material (the black lines) – of the visible and invisible worlds – which come together to form a whole. Radiating from this symbol is a dynamism that fills the exhibition space, adding a new dimension to the “Raum der Gegenwart”.

Spanned along with the black as well as the white lines is a red thread – the lifeline of the artist Felix Nussbaum. This lifeline traces both abstractly and concretely the course of a life exemplifying the fate of a person who lived as an artist and was persecuted as a Jew.

At the front of the “Raum der Gegenwart” the red line remains personal, connecting the biographical data of Felix Nussbaum, which is visible on the walls of the “brain”. At the back of the space, starting from the Star of David, which is oriented towards the former synagogue of Osnabrück, the reference system expands, becoming more abstract to show how spirit and matter are separated and then reunited. This is a universal analysis, a twist that always carries the individual with it, symbolized by the red thread which finally joins everything together in the infinite cycle of creation and passing. Between our birth and our death, we experience situations of departure, separation, isolation, doubt, and the constant presence of existential fear.

Brigitte Waldach

Photographs by Gerhard Kassner