Certainty and vision – the two elements of the title of this art exhibition were already the pillars supporting Francke’s work 300 years ago and still bear its weight today. The anniversary celebration of the Francke Foundations on the occasion of the 350th birthday of August Hermann Francke in 2013 is also an occasion to interrogate its founder’s concepts, his concerns and his intentions, to see what we might learn from them for the present and the future. For history shows that all eras are in need of individuals of powerful vision and unerring certainty to address the challenges of human existence.
For this anniversary year we have, then, undertaken an exciting experiment, complementing a cultural-historical exhibition at the beginning of the year, with another one, very differently con-ceived but on the same topic, during the second half of the year. Under the direction of curators Moritz Götze and Peter Lang, we have invited eleven artists from nine countries to address the concepts of certainty and vision as well as the arenas that these anthropological determinates can contain, and to bring them into relation with Francke. The results of these artistic interventions will be displayed at the authentic sites of the Francke Foundations, a place which itself came into being through vision and certainty. The present catalogue will preserve both the results and the aura of the exhibition even after the conclusion of the show. The prelude to the volume is a series of interviews with the curators providing an introduction of the themes of the exhibition, the main chapters deal with the specific art projects, and all participating artists are again introduced at the end. Both the format and the printing of this publication differ from our normal series of exhibition catalogues, with the curators and editors taking their inspiration from Indian account books. This inspiration is part in homage to a tradition of cooperation between the Francke Foundations and India dating back centuries, a cooperation most palpable in the exchange of books and publication knowledge.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Moritz Götze and Peter Lang as well as to the renowned, internationally active artists who have contributed to the success of this exhibition and this catalogue, and to thank the participating staff of the Francke Foundations, especially Dr. Penelope Willard, who accompanied the undertaking, alongside so many others during this anniversary year, from start to finish. Finally, I would like to thank the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the state of Saxony-Anhalt, the Art Foundation Saxony-Anhalt and the Circle of Friends of the Francke Foundations for their generous support of this international endeavour, which fruitfully brings together art and culture both in history and the present.
Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke
Director of the Francke Foundations