Group Exhibition_Ecstasy of Seeing_Opening 11.02.2023 at 4 pm

11.02 - 18.03.23

"The picture must come of its own accord, it emerges as if guided by a higher power, combining extreme concentration with impulse" is how the German painter Julius Bissier describes the act of creation. After decades of practice, an automatic, dynamic handwriting perfects itself into a meaningful, highly concentrated creation. In the same way, meditation and intuition find their genuine connection

Based on the observation that the longing for mind-expanding experiences can be found in all societies, the exhibition aims to focus on the artistic expression of ecstasies. Ecstasy is a form of absolute surrender that leads to an intuitive and impulsive act of creation. This anthropological, universal phenomenon awakens enormous potential. Emotional impulses become images. Artists seek metaphysical trance states, the state in which the ego disappears, and the pure creative force can break through.

The technical and scientific progress of our globalised society, with progressive disenchantment of the living world, reinforces the importance of ecstatic experiences, which must be continuously renegotiated. "Ecstasies open up", according to the writer Robert Musil, "the possibility of another life; this is a justification of their seductive quality". Ecstasy is a special, immersive event for the senses, which evokes mental states of being outside oneself and leads into an anti-rational counter-world.

For thousands of years, this phenomenon has captivated people from almost all cultural circles. Strategies of ecstasy have been practised for centuries and have developed cultic forms. Since antiquity, the transcendent experience has been associated with the artistic creative process. By means of art, the confrontation with the unknown, the unknowable and intangible can be recreated and thus made more vivid. It is the epoch-spanning, repeatedly questioned assertion that art can alter perception and consciousness, thus enabling an approach to ecstatic moments. In the process, ecstasy is associated with fields as diverse as religion, the occult, inspiration, bodily experience, sexuality, drugs, or medicine, and is often intertwined with the creative act.

Ecstatic experiences can express ambivalent feelings. In ecstasy, flight and fall, elation and pain, creative urge and delusion, spiritual transgression and physical self-destruction, liberation and dependence, life and death, are always disturbingly close to each other. Being out of oneself represents a promising state that defies the required social conduct. Ecstasies are generally regarded today as an escape from the norm of everyday life.

In this interpretation, they are longed for and at the same time rejected, because it bears the danger of an individual or even collective falling out of the norm.

Whether there is any room at all today for ecstatic experiences in the narrower sense, beyond the factually rational order of everyday life and the mass spectacles staged by the media to compensate for it, remains to be seen. The visual arts are certainly one of the cultural fields that most readily allow this freedom.


Rabeah Mashinchi, Johannes Bauer, Hermann Nitsch, Cornelia Lochmann, Andrea M. Varesco, Thaddäus Salcher, Michael Grebner and Rinaudo Nahuel.

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