Salzgitter is always on the move. Over the last few years, the city has been gradually making the shift from an industrial location to become an important Lower Saxon centre for contemporary art. This includes, among other things, the annual ‘Salon Salder’, the ‘KUNSTüberall’ (Art Everywhere) outdoor collection and the regular exhibitions on the theme-based collection ‘Arbeitswelt’ (World of Work), which brings the circle back again to Salzgitter’s identity as an industrial location.
When it comes to the subject of art in Salzgitter, Salder House is clearly one of the top places to visit. Dating back to the 17th century, the house was built in the style of the then-popular Weser Renaissance in the district of the same name, which was only incorporated in 1942. Today, Salder House is home to a museum focusing on the city’s history. Its forecourt serves as a venue for concerts and other large events. And then there is ‘Salon Salder’, which has been held annually since 1990 in the estate’s former cowshed.
From the ‘wishing machine’ to the Free Trade Agreement
Every autumn, Salzgitter serves as the venue for a very special exhibition series. Named after the old concept of the salon, in which like-minded people met and exchanged ideas on art-related topics, this event is attended by artists from Lower Saxony who gather here to present their works. Whether painting, drawing, photography, sculpture or installations, whether internationally established or newcomers – Salon Salder includes a rich and varied range of modern art. Both locals and tourists flock to gain a unique insight into Lower Saxony’s contemporary art scene. Thanks to a creative educational programme held alongside the event and a number of opportunities to meet with the artists, the Salon invites you to immerse yourself in art and interact with creative people in person. From the very first exhibition, the popular event series has been ensuring that Salzgitter is becoming increasingly known as an art location far beyond the city limits.
Lienhard von Moniewitsch’s black squares with their distorted perspectives, for example, were on display here in the past. Rainer Splitt lit up the room with his three-dimensional ‘Paper Pools’. Lotte Lindner and Till Steinbrenner dealt with current topics such as the movement of refugees or the Free Trade Agreement. And Inka Nowoitnick presented a mobile wishing machine designed to be filled with its audience’s wishes and their fictional journey around the world.
KUNSTüberall – ART everywhere, outdoors
Since 1985, more than 60 artistic works have been grouped around Salzgitter’s urban area, forming their own, open-air museum exhibition. The works are located on green spaces in the city, and you can visit them free of charge and around the clock. Some have been created by internationally known artists – such as Michael Schoenholtz (‘Figure lying, supported’), Yoshimi Hashimoto (‘Thumb’), Gerlinde Beck (‘Light Gap Stele’) or Katja Hayek (‘Untitled’).
In addition to the grounds of Salder House, the exhibition venues include the recreational area at Salzgitter Lake, the city park, the school centre as well as Gutspark in Salzgitter-Flachstöckheim.
The world of work leaves artistic traces
Salzgitter has been collecting pieces of art dedicated to the topic of work since 1975, underscoring its identity as an industrial city for workers. According to Stephanie Borrmann of the Fachdienst Kultur (a city department dedicated to culture), the decision regarding which works should be purchased was made on the basis of artistic quality from the very start. She explains the motivation behind the collection thus: ‘We want to use artistic works to illustrate the essence or social significance of work within an existing or sought-after world.’
The collection – which is defined as a collection of motifs – combines pieces on the subject of work, people as workers, traces left by work in the landscape and society, as well as specific tools. The city therefore focuses on etchings, wood engravings, photographs, watercolours and drawings and now has a collection of around 1,000 motifs on the subject of work, ranging from classical modernism to contemporary art. In addition to changes within art, the collection depicts the ongoing transformation of our working world in a powerful and vivid way.
In addition to the rotating exhibitions in the ‘Arbeitswelt’ collection and the annual ‘Salon Salder’, temporary exhibitions focusing on contemporary art and including nationally known artists are held on the premises of the Municipal Art Collections.
'Kleine Galerie' (Small Gallery)
The ‘Kleine Galerie’ (Small Gallery) at the Tollhaus in Salzgitter-Bad is also a key venue on the local art scene. Four solo exhibitions are held each year by members of the ‘Salzgitter Gruppe’ and two solo exhibitions by members of ‘Freien Kunststudios Spektrum’. The Municipal Art Collection of the city’s cultural department supervises the ‘Kleine Galerie’.