History: FlotART - Party of Culture in Flotwedel
Networking and regional feeling through art-land game
Once a year the art and culture metropolis of the region is called Bröckel. On the second weekend after Whitsun, the joint municipality of Flotwedel in the district of Celle is always on its feet.
Without a political message, but with ideas, a growing pool of artists and an annually increasing number of visitors, FlotART is drawing ever larger circles - almost like the "little sister of Wendland's Cultural Country Tour". Every year, courtyards, barns, gardens and magical places in Celle Land invite visitors to a festival of art and design, to touch and participate. Red and orange fingers point the way for guests of this major cultural event, also into the park of the Cistercian monastery Wienhausen. The Weilheim artist Beate Oehmann calls her installation "Fahnenflucht" (flag departures) - a new challenge after the design fair in Milan. The oversized, garishly fluttering flags conjure up completely new lines of sight in the peaceful park. One looks irritatedly into treetops and water pictures. It is Sunday. The bell of the St. Marien church in Wienhausen rings brightly and the sun jumps over historical cobblestones.
Everyone gets involved. Villages network. Stables turn into galleries, courtyards into sculpture parks, barns into museums. Art spaces are in lively exchange, even international contacts are growing.
FlotART: also a festival for children
Jannis (2) and sister Charlotte (4) from Nienhagen play a cheerful catch in the presence of their parents with a lowered flag. "This is exactly what we imagined", Cornelia Günther, chairwoman of the association FlotART - Kunst und Design im Flotwedel e.V. "Interaktion. Children who reach for the flags." The artist's idea: under the influence of wind and weather, a temporary work of art with its own dynamics is created. Sometimes it seems poetic in the wind, sometimes threatening in the storm. "A landscape, so 'populated', changes its character," says the artist Beate Oehmann. "At times it becomes a cultural landscape. The flags change the consciousness of space".
FlotART: Art to touch
The immersion in new experience spaces, the preoccupation with music, dance and heraldry is also part of the interdisciplinary educational program that accompanies the installation. "Together with the family centre KESS Wienhausen, we offer creative art participation activities," says Cornelia Günther. "All in the spirit of FlotART. Art to touch, not art behind glass and stainless steel".
Other FlotART cornerstones are networking, internationality and cooperation. The Indian-Canadian artist Ed E. Bryant was a guest at FlotART 2011. With him, wood sculptor workshops took place in the "Antikhof Drei Eichen", where the Austrian artist used masks, totem poles, dances and legends to bring the art and culture of the Tshimshian Indians in British Columbia to crumbling. In 2012 the Celle Schlosstheater took part for the first time and presented the Kafka play "The Transformation" in the "Theaterstützpunkt Alte Backstube".
A Wendland's "Cultural Country Tour" comes involuntarily to mind. "It is already a kind of role model for us," says Cornelia Günther. "We let ourselves be inspired, but don't copy. We want to limit ourselves to the Flotwedel. The region is rich in village treasures: scenic, architectural and people who feel attracted by its surroundings." To unite these treasures and to combine them in a cheerful art festival is the idea of FlotART, which has already attracted visitors from all over Northern Germany in the first year of its existence.
"FlotART is a 'folk festival of art', where visitors and artists find a unique forum in a rural setting,
Torsten Laskowski as initiator and organizer sums it up. FlotART raises the creative potential of the whole region. "People are interested in art and culture in our joint community work together and create their unique art event in a process of 'becoming open'". The inhabitants open the gates. Profane buildings become "art spaces" in which artists exhibit and work. Art becomes the connecting element of the villages of Flotwedel. "What's interesting for me is that I'm involved in shaping the outside space, unlike in galleries," says Dorle Severit, a painter from Bröckel, in appreciation of the cooperation.
"The FlotART has gained in supra-regional importance, is firmly noted in the annual calendar of many visitors," the organizers are pleased. The association owes this strongly to its sponsors. Thus FlotART offers a lot of space for social, financial or promotional engagement.
From year to year the FlotART grows.
The first FlotART event took place in 2010. Wolfgang Raschke, owner of the jewellery manufactory, provided the ideas. Torsten Laskowski had just moved to the "Drei Eichen" farm in Bröckel. After the ebbed studio weekend, an art and culture vacuum was filled. "We have gathered the people interested in culture around us," recalls Cornelia Günther. "In the second year the association was founded, in Steffis Tanke, near Korn and Pommes. The number of participating artists and art spaces grows from year to year. Already after two years one did not get any more accommodation in the village. 120 artists from all over Germany took part. The FlotART website had 120,000 hits.
From the Klosterpark Wienhausen past the idyllic Mühlrad to the Kulturhaus of the Klostergemeinde Wienhausen, which has been newly established and is also a FlotART art space. Beyond the cultural event, the exhibition "Jazz on Stage" with paintings and photographs by Jens-Christian Schulze and Jürgen Born could be seen here in 2012. "That's wonderful," enthuses Cornelia Günther. "Meanwhile we are a real FlotART family".
In the meantime, Bröckel seems a bit like a small art village, according to the motto "Worpswede was yesterday". That's probably why the gallery owner Hans Erhardt Wobbe from Wielenbach came here. As part of FlotART, of which he has been artistic director since 2012, he established his concept of living and working and is committed to promoting young artists. He is the owner of the Kunst Haus Alte Schule Bröckel. After 30 years as an East Prussian in Upper Bavaria, he was looking for new perspectives.
Born and raised in Braunschweig, Godiva von Freienthal returned to Lower Saxony after 21 years in Bremen and Berlin. Initially working as an art therapist for the elderly and as an exhibition curator, she first worked in parallel, soon full-time as a freelance artist. An exhibition by her in Wobbes "H.E.W galerie wielenbach" gave the impulse to the common search for a suitable place. He was found in the former school. In mid-2011, the project "Kunst Haus Alte Schule Bröckel" was born. Lovingly renovated apartments with the charm of the 1950s and bright studios in the former classrooms promised an artistic togetherness. FlotART 2011 was the first public event of its kind. In 2012 they were there again: von Freienthal, the new member Hans Jürgen Weber from Braunschweig, architect and sculptor, as well as artists from Hamburg and Hanover. Stephan Sowa, restorer from Celle, is a new studio enrichment.
Von Freienthal, who calls herself an artist, exhibited her "artistic chaos" in 2012. "Making art is one of my languages. Cross-media". In addition to painting, she works with performances and spatial installations. She finds the coupling of her performance "Was von ihr ist" with Oehmann's "Fahnenfluchten" exciting. Ten women and pictures of underclothes line up in a theme that von Freienthal has been dealing with for a long time. "I do not identify myself with the work of male artists, but with that of women. That Oehmann calls her flags in the monastery park "Windsbräute" plays into the hands of her ideas. "In the Cistercian monastery one encounters a concentrated charge of femininity.
"Growing Works of Art" on the FlotART
One village further on, in Langlingen-Wiedenrode, the MilleFlori farm is contributing to the FlotART with a growing work of art: a herb garden in 2011 and a clay oven in 2012. A landscape work of art is in the minds of the farm owners. Cornelia Günther finds this FlotART contribution "beautiful". "We always had the idea of redesigning a courtyard or a nursery to create a park accessible to the public," reveals Patricia Mordaß, who acquired and restored the courtyard, the second oldest building in the village from 1886, in 2005 with the help of her husband Mario. "The exterior was not important to us at the time. Now we see it as an object of art to design it, as garden art". In 2013, we took part again, with a fan-shaped perennial garden and the colours of the rainbow. There would also be a mountain with a swimming pond and amphitheatre for concerts, a ruin building, a savannah landscape with an Indian tent and a spring grove. "It's wonderful to give your work a face."
The ideas are springing up. The FlotART organizers talk about fashion shows, sculptor symposia, permanent wind objects and lots of utopia. "FlotART is not a snored-up box where you exhibit napkin holders, not a painting bazaar," says Cornelia Günther. "We have much more to offer." "The important thing is that we always have enough new ideas in the pool. Because that's the principle:
"We want to reinvent ourselves every year."
Learn more about FlotART, a short film will give you a very special insight into the cultural festival in Flotwedel.