“Vita” – a photographic performance by Iris Brosch in the form of a vibrant invitation to visit Saxony-Anhalt from the Biennale in Venice

With the state exhibition “Cranach the Younger 2015”, from 26th June until 1st November 2015, the homeland of the reformation is to celebrate the 500th birthday of Lucas Cranach the Younger. It is the first ever exhibition in the world to be dedicated to the life and work of the master. At original venues in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Dessau and Wörlitz, the exhibition organisers will be presenting the most important and valuable works of art from the German renaissance in the form of a superb exhibition.

 With a photographic performance by the famous photographer and former fellow of the Art Foundation Saxony-Anhalt, Iris Brosch, during the Media Days at the 56th Biennale in Venice, a greater level of international attention is set to be focused on the state exhibition, awakening curiosity in the homeland of the reformation with its numerous Luther-related cultural sites, as well as the anniversary of the reformation in 2017. With the materials used in the performance, the aim is to address younger target groups – especially young cultural travellers from foreign countries – and to enthuse them to visit the destination of Saxony-Anhalt.

Over the course of recent weeks, Iris Brosch has already brought one of Cranach the Younger’s works to life in the shape of art postcards, artistic photos, film trailers and advertising videos. With her international team, she has staged several versions of 'Hercules at the Court of Omphale' in the form of what is known as a tableau vivant. The work, dating from 1535, is on loan from the Danish National Gallery in Copenhagen, and is returning to its homeland in 2015, where it will be on display at the state exhibition in Wittenberg. “In her tableau vivant, Iris Brosch traces the incidental and gathers pieces of evidence which become the starting point to a puzzling and tangled story. She mounts and documents the course and results of her findings from the “raw materials of life” with photographs, films and in magnificent performances all over the world. Beyond the conventional dividing lines between photography, installations, film and performance, a unique work of art with a fascinating format has been created,” explains Manon Bursian, Director of the Art Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt.

 At 4.00 pm on 8th May 2015, in the scope of the media days event at the 56th Biennale, the spectacular live production of Cranach‘s monumental portrait, “Christ Blessing the Children”, to which international media representatives from leading cultural and travel magazines and photographers have been invited, will take place at the Campo dell Arsenale in Venice. The work, which dates from 1540, a portrayal from the Gospel of St. Mark, is travelling from the Dresden State Art Collections to Saxony-Anhalt. “The picture,” explains Iris Brosch on the selection of the portrait, “grabbed my attention immediately due to its vibrancy, its human interaction, and all of the children. In this work, I can see the humanity, strength, vibrancy, energy, vitality that can only occur when people get together, interact with each other and exchange ideas – all of which are especially important in our current era of isolation, which is characterised by machines and computers. We can only create the kind of renaissance which could make the world we live in now into a better tomorrow if people come together and interact. At the same time, we also want to bring the homeland of the reformation and the Luther-related cultural sites into context, as well as building a bridge to the impressive works and impact of Cranach at the venue of Wittenberg.” The project is being supported by the Luther Memorials Foundation and the Art Foundation Saxony-Anhalt.

About Iris Brosch:

Iris Brosch, born in Fallersleben, Germany, in 1964, studied Literature at Universite Nanterre, Paris, from 1984 – 1985. During this time, gained her first professional work as a photographer for CD covers, portrait photos of actors, fashion brands, etc. Relocated to New York in 1995, since then has been working as a fashion, nude and artistic photographer and video and performance artist, with numerous big photo campaigns and major initial exhibitions of her artwork. Several performances, including the 'Gartenreich Dessau' which was awarded a grant from the Art Foundation Saxony-Anhalt, since 2005, guest at the Biennale in Venice with numerous performances, including 2013 WOMAN and NATURE near EXTINCTION, 2012 FROM MARTYRDOM TO FEMICIDE. Her photographic work has also been shown in the 'Verweile doch' exhibition at the Art Foundation Saxony-Anhalt. Additional exhibitions include, among others, the Goethe Institute Washington (2013), the Festival de la Photography de la Mode in Cannes (2007 – 2015), the ART ATHINA with DADADADA (2013) in Athens, the OLYMPIC FINE ARTS exhibition at the Barbican Art Centre London (2012) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Facets of Figuration“(2011).


About Cranach the Younger (1515-1586):

Lucas Cranach the Younger was born in the town now known as Lutherstadt Wittenberg on 4th October 1515 as the son of the famous painter Lucas Cranach the Elder. The house in which he was born is now known as the 'Cranach Hof' and is situated at the marketplace. Lucas Cranach the Younger learned all about painting and its importance as a child in his father's workshop. The Cranach workshop featured a print shop, and was the key trendsetter in the then art scene. As a multitalented artist, Cranach the Younger converted his father's workshop into an extremely productive 'art business' which achieved success throughout Europe, creating brightly coloured portraits of the highest quality which enthused the world. Lucas Cranach the Younger also occupied an important political position in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, with positions including council treasurer, mayor and deputy mayor. In his second marriage, Lucas Cranach the Younger married the niece of Philipp Melanchthon, Magdalena Schurff. Lucas Cranach the Younger died in Lutherstadt Wittenberg in 1586. A commemorative stone in Wittenberg Parish Church serves as a memorial to the gifted painter and politician. The Cranach Altar, one of his most important works which he created together with his father, is also on display in Wittenberg Parish Church of St. Marien.


About the Biennale:

The Biennale in Venice is thought to be the oldest and best known international art show in the world. The 56th show will be opening its doors on 9th May 2015. This time, it's key theme is 'All the World's Future.' A total of 89 national presentations and hundreds of events turn Venice into an urban work of art. The five artists who will join the German pavilion also include concept artist Olaf Nicolai, who was born in Halle/Saale in 1962.


“Vita” – a photographic performance by Iris Brosch