...baked bread is tasty and satisfying - for one day; but flour cannot be sown, and the seeds are not to be ground.
J. W. von Goethe (1795)
Since the summer solstice in June 2011 presented at the cultural site Wintringer Chapel the renowned Munich sculptor Hermann Bigelmayr with his work "The Limits to Growth".
The work of Hermann Bigelmayr was conceived as process work. In a trialogue, the work is completed in 3 annual cycles, from summer solstice to summer solstice, and accompanied and deepened by a public discourse on the subject.
per annum 2011-2012 stands for the basic work (an oversized, broken, stalk of wheat) and the supertitle "The Limits to Growth". per annum 2012-2013 bears the title "Seeds".
In addition, Hermann Bigelmayr has opened up another facet of the theme and set it in visual language. This "picture" can be seen from the vernissage on 23.06. on the inside of the west portal of the chapel. Ultimately, per annum 2013-2014 under the planned title "In the Balance" concludes the trialogue.
The year 2012 provides the current background for artistic work and discourse.
40 years of "The Limits to Growth"
40 years ago, the Club of Rome published its first report on the state of humanity under the title "The Limits to Growth". In 1972, researchers commissioned by the "Club of Rome" warned for the first time: the world's population is living beyond its means; if people do not change course, environmental pollution will lead to a global catastrophe. In 2012, leading scientists took another look at the status quo. The forecast is no better than it was 40 years ago....
Rio + 20
20 years after the first Earth Summit in 1992, the global community will meet again in Rio de Janeiro on June 20-22, 2012. Despite all the findings, however, neither climate change nor the loss of biodiversity has yet been halted. Today, we are consuming the resources of one and a half planets and continuing to heat up the earth's atmosphere. Without any concretization, the final report was already available before the summit began. Such forms of "summit democracy" obviously lead nowhere. As an alternative to this world climate conference, the "peoples summit" has now been established, where results are achieved at the citizen level. There is a consensus here that the path to an ecological future can only succeed if people become aware of the consequences of unrestrained growth thinking and move from knowledge to action.
Year of Food 2012 - Wintringer farm becomes a showcase farm for organic farming
2012 is the Year of Food, prompting people to start thinking now about how to feed nine billion people in 2050. The only key seems to lie in the global breakthrough of ecologically and socially produced food.
A significant model example of this in the Saarbrücken region and in the Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve is provided by the Wintringer farm. The organic farm, which is run on a social mission by Lebenshilfe für Menschen mit Behinderung e.V., was named a showcase farm for organic farming in May 2012 and demonstrates in many tangible ways what sustainable thinking and action can look like in practice.
For the cultural site Wintringer Chapel and the people in the Saarbrücken region, the aspects are cause and imperative to spark a movement from below with the support of the message of the current exhibition and a public discourse on site. The aim is to trigger a change in values from purely economic to sustainable thinking. This is about enabling a life in dignity without destroying the ecological foundations of our lives. This will only succeed if we take tomorrow and the day after tomorrow into account in our actions today. Goethe also formulated this appeal as early as 1820:
Who does not know how to give an account of three thousand years, Remain in the dark, inexperienced, May live from day to day ...
J. W. von Goethe
Seeds - The artistic position
Hermann Bigelmayr, who understands his artistic position "The Limits to Growth" as process work, has reacted to the listed current backgrounds. From the summer solstice of 2012, he is expanding his installation at the cultural site Wintringer Chapel with another work. It bears the subtitle "Seeds".
In terms of content, it enters into dialogue with one of the most succinct short formulas of the idea of sustainability, left by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1795 in his work Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre: "...baked bread is tasty and filling - for one day; but flour cannot be sown, and the seeds should not be ground."
"Goethe does not at all despise daily satiety, enjoyment, the aroma of freshly baked bread, self-care. But, he says, to the self-care belongs the care for the seed, thus the precaution. And with that, he brings into play the conditions for the seeds to grow and thrive: soil fertility, water balance, biodiversity, in a word - ecology. One of the decisive control elements in the struggle with the unreflective idea of growth," explained sustainability expert Ulrich Grober in Discourse II on the current exhibition "The Limits to Growth", in March 2012.
Under the title "Seeds", the sculptor Hermann Bigelmayr translated this appeal, necessary for survival, into the visual language of the precious and the threatening at the same time. On the ground plan of a transparent square, he positions yellow-ripe wheat grains - seeds - which he has printed on the basis of earth colors by means of a self-made stamp on handmade paper cards. Already the thoughtful process itself ritualized, evokes the preciousness of these chosen fruits of the earth. Grain by grain, the reserve comes together. A guarantee of survival for tomorrow's harvest: seed. 64 wheat grains on a transparent square want to remind on another level of the dangers of exponential growth, which was already thematized within the work in the symbolism to the legend "of the only grain".
In contrast to the exponential increase symbolized in the saga (each field twice the number of grains as on the previous one), here the linear distribution of the 64 grains of wheat, on 64 fields of an imaginary chessboard, marks the end of a widespread concept of growth that sees its goal merely in quantitative, if necessary also uncontrollable increase.
This message is condensed into a new formulation in its transparency on the walled-up west portal: We need a breakthrough to a qualitative growth in which diversity beyond human interests represents a value in itself, an essential principle of the living that must be preserved.
Improvisations for the turn of the year 2012