“Ah Lord, love me passionately” – Images of Bodies & Religion

Altstädter Nikolaikirche Bielefeld
20.03. - 31.08.13

Curated by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski, Academy of the Arts and University of the Arts Berlin 

In his first address, the new Pope Francis 1 has announced that he will pay particular attention to promoting dialogue between religions, in other words to seeking reconciliation not only between the various communities of the Christian faith but also with Islam. This is the context mirrored by our exhibition.

A book of this exhibition can be directly ordered.






Ah Lord, love me passionately - Video from exhibition
Ah Lord, love me passionately - Curator's Comments

Curator's Comments

by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski

The background to this exhibition

God does not have a body. God is metaphysical, a conception, the ultimate idea, a projection, a concept for explaining the world. The louder the voices that proclaim God is dead become, the more the divine seems to be immanent in our thoughts and feelings. God does not express himself to us through any arbitrary body and certainly not through our own body. God speaks to us through the body of the Other, through the body of someone who is not the same as us. Through this body God smiles at us, provided we are capable of recognizing his smile.

This is the primordial world of art. Art does not exist in order to explain what is alien to us, what we cannot understand, what is greater than ourselves. Art is there to make us attuned to what is beyond our comprehension, what is in no way identical to us. To become art the work must contain something that makes it radiant for the viewer, something that triggers an emotionally charged dialogue with the work in which states such as contemplation, horror or happiness become palpable. It has to make us more aware of the world in which we live and to make our responses to it more sensitive.

Like a passionate dedicated explorer, for decades now the art collector Lutz Teutloff has focused his energies on one sole field of interest: the human body in all its endlessly fascinating, multifarious appearances and portrayals in art, especially the art of photography. Many of the images of bodies reveal a charged relationship to the scared, the holy, the religious in a variety of forms. This may well have to do with the fact that Lutz Teutloff is a religious man, but it may equally well be connected to the fact that for many artists the presence of the divine in the artistic reality of their work is of crucial importance.

“Ah Lord, love me passionately” – This fervent plea of longing by the medieval mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg encapsulates her deeply passionate relationship to God. The unique pairing of infinite love for God and eroticism in the written works of the high churchwoman of the late Middle Ages serves as the point of entry to our notional architecture of an exhibition.
Taking the number seven, which is of such prime importance for the Judaeo-Christian myth of the creation, we construct seven imaginary spaces with works from the Teutloff Collection to exemplify the rapport between the human body and religion in all its fascinating complexity.

1.) Sublime Bodies – Holy Bodies
Chi Peng (China), Chester Higgins (USA), James Nachtwey (USA)

 2.) Angelic Bodies – Spiritualised Bodies
Volker Hildebrandt (Germany), Brian Finke (USA), Lynn Hershman (USA), Danica Dakic (Jugoslawia), Aziz + Cucher (USA), Miao Xiaochun (China), Michael Najjar (Germany)

3.) Dignity & Death
Dieter Appelt (Germany), Erwin Wurm (Austria),  Larry Towell (USA), Dario Mitidieri (Italy), João Silva (Portugal)

4.) Children of God
Monika Czosnowska (Poland), Margie Geerlinks (Netherlands),  Marie-Jo Lafontaine (Belgium), Dario Mitidieri (Italy), Abbas (Iran), Mario Cravo Neto (Brazil), Michael Najjar, (Germany)

5.) Sacrifice / Victim (Bodies)
Hilmar Pabel (Germany), Phillip Rantzer (Israel)

6.)  Madonna  
Nan Goldin (USA), Stefan Moses (Germany), Richard Hamilton (USA), Lynn Hershman (USA), Larry Towell (USA)

7.) Symbols & Rituals
Elke Krystufek (Austria), Hermann Nitsch (Austria)


We would like to thank the StadtKirchenArbeit at Altstädter Nikolaikirche and the Rev. Armin Piepenbrink-Rademacher for their kind assistance and support.

Sponsored by: Edellmetall Kontor