Mission Statement

The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg sees itself as a living museum that engages in dialogue with its visitors. As a place for contemplation and active participation in the sense of cognitive contemplation, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg mediates the potential of art to create meaning. The maintenance and expansion of the collection of contemporary art and the educational mandate are our principal objectives. With its program, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg has been contributing to the intellectual and cultural identity of the city of Wolfsburg since 1974. In der Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, artists address and update thoughts about the present and venture to look beyond the borders of everyday life in ways that are new again and again through the presentation of their works. Artistic experiments, production as well as research are promoted in a responsible and sustainable manner and are reflected in both the exhibitions as well as in the collection. Our museum and the exhibitions and events we offer are open to all and entry is intentionally free of charge. The location in Schloss Wolfsburg, a place with a distinct atmosphere, and the collaboration with the other events that take place here offer a unique and very special ambiance for encounters – not only with what the art expresses but also with other people. The goal of everything that we offer is personal contact and creative exchange with one another. We look forward to your visit.

Exhibitions

The exhibitions of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg invite visitors to see in a conscious way. Habits of seeing and thinking are challenged in order to inspire desire, stimulate fantasy, develop critical questions, and encourage people’s own insights. The goal of the exhibition program is an on-going exploration of current art, which contributes to the understanding of our own present time.
The collection, which is presented in alternating selections and based on diverse questions, forms the context for the special exhibitions. It inevitably places the young positions in the programme within an art-historical context, while the works in the collection are simultaneously actively embedded in the flow of contemporary currents in art. The interplay between the special exhibitions and permanent presentations increases the number of ways of perceiving and establishes new links. The long-term exhibition programme is made up of various presentation formats, which are shown in a regular rhythm. As a result of this programme, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg functions not only as a location for exhibitions but also as a place for production and experiments in which new works are developed and realised. For many of the artists who are presented in the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, this presentation often means a first public recognition of their work. The promotion of young artists who are still relatively unknown is one of the focuses of the exhibition programme as is the reference to the significant work of artists who have provided important impulses but are less represented in present-day exhibition events. Various curatorial approaches come into effect in the thematic exhibitions, for which external curators are invited. The regular cooperation with the Heidersberger Institute and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig (college of fine arts) integrates the local and regional art scene into the exhibition program. With the Satellites, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg ventures a step outside, away from the shelter of the museum, and develops exhibition concepts for various actions locations in the Wolfsburg urban space. The awarding of the art prize “Young City Sees Young Art”, which is among the oldest traditions in the cultural life of Wolfsburg and is presented every three years, represents a highpoint of the exhibition programme. The presentation forms for the exhibitions as well as the accompanying publications are developed in dialogue and close cooperation with the artists participating and make their arguments primarily visually. Openness and courage to experiment guide the programme. The rooms in Schloss Wolfsburg present a model that is forms a contrast with that of the ideal of the white cube. The architecture of the castle and the interior construction from the 1970s are simultaneously both a challenge and a stimulus for the testing of new forms of presentation and alternative exhibition models. Through the transfer of the works to the rooms in a castle that served as the home and representative location for the Counts of Schulenburg until the middle of the twentieth century, a quite particular situation is created and reactions that are defining for the experiencing of the exhibitions of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg are achieved.

Cultures

The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg sees itself as a cultural service provider. We receive visitors as guests who should feel comfortable in our institution. Our goal is to stimulate interaction with art in greater depth. Each of our employees acts as a liason to the public. The ‘museum as a workplace’, as Bazon Brock has defined, requires active participation not only from the employees but also from the visitors to the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg and offers a space for individual insights. We want to be an institution for all individuals and keep access to the exhibitions and activities open to all without restrictions. Through offers that are mostly free of charge, all interested individuals should have the opportunity to participate. An important concern for us is the participation of individuals with disabilities in cultural and public life. We also live this demand within the institution. The team of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg thus continuously and successfully integrates employees with impaired abilities and contributes in a particular way to maintaining of such employment relationships within the Wolfsburg municipal administration. The prerequisites are the trusting working relationship and great flexibility of all members of the staff as well as the development of innovative structures with effective processes. The principles described in the guidelines for working relationships within the Wolfsburg municipal administration form the basis for our teamwork. They obligate members of staff to leadership based on partnership and the promotion of independent initiatives. The objective is to further develop our work in a responsible and future-oriented manner. Regular further training to promote the professional and personal development of all employees and the offering of training possibilities are a matter of course. The Städtische Galerie offers volunteers the opportunity to work with us and makes intensive use of their function as skilled multipliers. We utilise the resources entrusted to us creatively and economically. Our financial resources oblige us to act in a purposeful and targeted manner. The stimulus for the establishment of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg as an institution was the desire to develop impact on society through artistic production. It is therefore necessary to provide artists with opportunities to work freely in our institution and to support this work sustainably in the long-term.

Outreach

The outreach program of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg sees visitors – whether young or old – as active participants in learning processes. The goal of all our events is to be active in a motivating manner in the mediation of ideas, to demonstrate possibilities for artistic and creative forms of expression and to thus promote the ability to design one’s own surroundings. We create the free spaces and open situations that are necessary for this and develop the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg into a place for communicative encounters in which everyone is welcome with his or her own experiences. We accept our visitors’ autonomy, skills and desire for social belonging as well as their diversity in terms of age, origins, motivation, interests and knowledge. In the dialogue, we search for points of contact for cooperatively initiating shared learning processes. A fundamental feature of our programme is the intensive collaboration with artists, who as art producers have a different view of the works and are able to mediate artistic perspectives more directly and clearly. Process-oriented and experimental forms for art education are tried and tested within the framework of participatory projects and provide intergenerational offers. With the ‘Citizens’ Workshop’ in the outbuildings of the castle, we make workshop spaces available that offer optimal conditions for the creative use of materials and for group work but also facilitate the presentation of results. As a result of the discussion of educational standards, PISA tests and much more, questions regarding education have become a focus of public attention. The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg is an alternative and attractive learning location and strives to strengthen its collaboration with schools. The programme aims at social learning and conscious perception in the examination of the originals in order to foster the desire for personal discovery and the ability of to perceive visually. Education in the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg already begins with the concept for and set-up of exhibitions. The invitations are thus developed as interactive artistic projects and are created in cooperation with the artists. Individual, appropriate educational formats are developed for every exhibition along with the artists being presented. Our publications and texts are visitor-oriented, translations into language of the contents to be mediated, which both address expert knowledge as well as provide information for laypeople. Our intention is to create spaces and situations in which viewers have the opportunity to make free decisions. It should be possible to experience art as a resource for autonomous thinking and action.

Schloss Wolfsburg

From a cultural and historical perspective, Schloss Wolfsburg is amongst the oldest and most important structures in the young city of Wolfsburg, and has given the city its name since 1945. The fortified complex, which was first mentioned in documents in 1302, underwent numerous expansions and redesigns during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and most recently in 1840, and is considered from the perspective of architectural history as a architectural monument of the northern German Renaissance. The original builder of the complex was the family of von Bartensleben. After their line died out in 1742, the Counts of Schulenburg inherited Schloss Wolfsburg. They were, however, forced to sell Schloss Wolfsburg in the course of the erection of the Volkswagen plant and left the castle in 1942. The eventful history and various uses of Schloss Wolfsburg – which, for example, also served as a first home for refugees at the end of the 1940s – can still today be read and perceived in many parts of the structure. The form of the building as it is presented to us today consists of a four-sided, solid building enclosing a courtyard. The four wings of the building are named according to the points of the compass, and the Städtische Galerie is located in the east wing as well as in the south and west wings with exhibition spaces whilst the administrative rooms are found in the north wing above the main entrance. The Print Workshop and the guest floors are also housed in the north wing. Depots and storage spaces are distributed over different units in all of the wings. For the use as a museum, a suitable infrastructure was incorporated into the architecture of the interior spaces in accordance with the guidelines for protected historical landmarks. Since 2002, all the exhibitions spaces of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg have been accessible for individuals with disabilities. The building of Schloss Wolfsburg, which is always dominant both with respect to the architectural conditions as well as due to its historical, content-oriented significance, presents a challenge with respect to the organising of exhibitions and handling of the collection, which again and again has to be coped with anew and requires innovative strategies. Our goal is not only to find solutions that in part take into account and bring together conflicting requirements. It is also of great importance that the contradictions are reconciled and enter into a stimulating dialogue. Schloss Wolfsburg is located outside of the city centre in the district of Alt-Wolfsburg and is surrounded by an historical garden and a landscape park. The site provides an attractive destination for excursions and is a popular place for recreation. The concept for the utilisation of Schloss Wolfsburg has set the programmatic agenda of preserving the site not only as an historical site with representative spaces for the city, but also establishing an cultural centre that is utilised by various institutions. In addition to the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, the following institutions are also present here with their offers: the Stadtmuseum Schloss Wolfsburg, the Kunstverein Wolfsburg, the Heidersberger Institute, the Italian Culture Institute as well as a café and restaurant in the former castle outbuildings. Thus in Schloss Wolfsburg, local history, art history, contemporary art, theatre and music come into contact and form a reciprocally stimulating and lively location.

Facilities

The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg consists of a number of facilities that define further emphases in the fields of education and service but also with regard to support for artists.

A special library on the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is thus also operated and its reference holdings are not only used for scholarly work in the museum but are also available to all citizens who are interested in them. The library accompanies our collection activities and as a result of is specialisation in terms of content, represents an offer that is unique in Wolfsburg. The focus of the holdings, which comprise round 40,000 medial units, is artist monographs, and the goal is to both continue to expand the holdings as well as systematically develop them further. In addition, information, images and testimonials by Wolfsburg artists are collected and archived with the goal of setting up an artists’ archive for the art scene in Wolfsburg. A gallery for graphics and new media in which works that are not currently being shown in the permanent exhibition can be shown to visitors is under development. With regard to the educational mandate, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg acts as a centre for information and excellence for contemporary art.

A visit to the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg is meant to be a positive experience for our visitors, which means that the issue of the services that are offered is important. In cooperation with artists, communicative meeting points, such as the espresso bar, the reception area or opportunities for sitting have been set up and are also of importance as artworks since they can also be used.

The Print Workshop is an important instrument not only for the promotion of artists but also for educational work. Artists have the opportunity to work on their printed graphic oeuvre in direct proximity to the exhibitions of the Städtische Galerie. We are aware that artistic media in contemporary art are subjected to on-going demand, which is why the Print Workshop will in future also be available for work not only with traditional graphic techniques but also with new media (photography, video, sound). The goal is to set up project-related grants for young, emerging artists. The Print Workshop represents a unique feature of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg and is seen by the public as an attractive offer, a lively place for cultural exchange between art producers and the population.

The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg traditionally has the responsibility of awarding the Art Prize of the City of Wolfsburg “Young City Sees Young Art” every three years. The prize was established in 1959 and represents a fixed point in the cultural life of the city. According to the principles governing the awarding of the prize, the prize is presented to artists who “have achieved supra-regional attention and a corresponding level of recognition with their previous work and should have their artistic work fostered with this prize”. In recent years, the prize has been given to artists including Thomas Schütte, Katharina Fritsch, Olaf Nicolai and Bettina Pousttchi. The exhibition in the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg in connection with the awarding of the prize as well as the accompanying publication enable the public to engage in-depth with the work of the prize winner and emphasise the supporting character of the prize.

Partners

The sponsor of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg is the city of Wolfsburg. The administrative processes of the institution are incorporated within the municipal administration, which is the most important partner for the management of the museum based on the setting of goals and also guarantees efficient controlling. The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg strives to get citizens actively involved and to obtain other sponsors and patrons. In this, the supporting association “jugend in der galerie” is of great importance.

We cooperate regularly and in various ways not only with our neighbouring institutions in the castle but also with the institutions of the city of Wolfsburg and in the region. Through this cooperation, synergy effects are fostered, whereby we do not neglect to further strengthen our goal and the profile of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg with regard to a recognisable identity.

Within the framework of loans as well as joint projects, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg maintains relationships with the national and international museum landscape. We work with private collections and galleries on a basis of trust. As a result of the exhibition activities and personal contacts, there is a lively exchange with the art scene. The Städtische Galerie sees itself as an interface between museum and teaching. On-going cooperation has been established with regional as well as supra-regional universities and academies, cooperation that also has to be intensively maintained and expanded with respect to the research in our institution.

Chronicle

The establishment of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg resulted from the desire to set up a municipal art collection as a “place of on-going intellectual exploration’ in the young city of Wolfsburg shaped by industry. The first art acquisitions go back to the time of the development of the city in the 1950s. At that time, forward-looking cultural emphases were provided by the large, important art exhibitions of the Volkswagen plant, which presented high-level European art in Wolfsburg. At the beginning of the 1960s, the council of the city of Wolfsburg decided to put together a collection of contemporary art with the goal of exhibiting it on an on-going basis. Karl Heil, Dr. Volkmar Köhler and Dr. Peter Lufft drafted the collection concept, which has defined the guidelines in a binding way since 1961 and provides the basis for systematic, scholarly collecting activities. On the advice of experts, the council and administration courageously decided against a collection of older art and instead that the collection holdings should rather take up the dynamics of the modern city of Wolfsburg and address the problems of the present.

The contemporary collection found its home and exhibition space in the historic architecture of Schloss Wolfsburg, which the city acquired from the State of Lower Saxony in 1961. On 20 October 1974, the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg was officially opened in the two storeys of the east wing. With the term “Galerie”, conscious reference was made to the dedication of the institution to the presentation of current artistic positions. For the opening exhibition, Klaus Hoffmann, the director at that time, presented the first catalogue of holdings with the acquisitions until 1974. In addition to the management of the collection, the organisation of special exhibitions was part of the mandate of the Städtische Galerie from the very beginning. The running of the Print Workshop, which was already established along with the guest rooms in Schloss Wolfsburg in the 1960s, represents a special task. Until 1997, the director of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg was also the executive director of the Kunstverein (art association) that is also situated in Schloss Wolfsburg. The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg underwent a decisive expansion with the renovation of the south wing, which was made accessible to the public in 1990. For the 700-year anniversary of Schloss Wolfsburg in 2002, followed the rebuilding and restoration of two additional storeys in the west wing in keeping with the structure’s status as a listed building. Here, the extensive collection holdings of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg are today shown in permanent exhibitions with alternating selections. The pride of the citizens in “their” collection is shown both by the regularly returning visitors as well as the positive entries in the guestbook. Success has been achieved in establishing a bond between a broad public with its interests and sympathies and the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg and Schloss Wolfsburg, and it is our goal to continue to deepen this emotional attachment.

Collection

The focal point for our work and the source of energy for all the activities of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg is the collection. The programme develops from the goals and the contents of the collection and is able to react to the collection long-term manner. In the young city of Wolfsburg, the municipal art collection, which has been being assembled since the beginning of the 1950s through on-going acquisitions, plays a role in defining identity.

The collection concentrates on art from German-speaking areas after 1945. In addition to this, works in the field of media graphics, multiples, photography and video are collected internationally so that it is possible to experience reciprocal effects within an international context. Since the beginning of the collecting activities, new forms of expression have been integrated, and all media in contemporary art stand next to each other on an equal footing in the holdings of the collection. Through dispensing with encyclopaedically broad collecting, the collection has its own unique profile, which represents a commitment and was agreed in writing in the founding statutes.

With its outstanding works, the collection is in the position to present important artistic trends in German art and to show aesthetic traditions as well as engagements in contemporary art. Tracing the development of contemporary art linearly is, however, not a priority in the collecting policy. The goal is rather to trace new, contemporary positions that have for the most part not yet become established but have nonetheless developed an artistically autonomous pictorial language. Acquisitions have generally been made in the year when works were created and as a rule outside of the particularly prevailing mainstream. The collection is thus distinguished by a remarkable individuality in the holdings and is unique in the region.

Numerous works in the collection have been produced within the framework of context-related and process-oriented projects for the rooms of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg in Schloss Wolfsburg. Building on the long years of collaboration with contemporary artists, in-situ works are commissioned and developed as collective productions in which the public is integrated in order to then become part of the collection. The specific compilation of works, which form an aesthetic experience as a whole, along with the collection’s ability to offer a more in-depth way of seeing and active participation facilitate true-to-life and productive interaction with contemporary art in the Städtische Galerie.

Links

Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch
The foundation is dedicated to promote art, science and culture. The foundation’s goal is especially to preserve and maintain the entire graphic oeuvre by the artist Neo Rauch in the form of an extensive collection of lithographs and graphic works that Neo Rauch has created since 1993.

Institut Heidersberger
The Institut Heidersberger is archive, presentation and collection of the photographer Heinrich Heidersberger.

Jugend in der Galerie
Open studio, holiday games, writing workshops, ...: these are only some of the projects that the Städtische Galerie in Wolfsburg offers for children and young people. The association also supports the artistic project www.staedtische-galerie-wolfsburg.de.

Bundesverband Museumspädagogik
The Federal Association for Museum Education (BVMP e.V.) represents, bundles and coordinates the skills of some 700 museum educators around Germany. Their field of work ranges over the broad spectrum of different types and genres of museums as well as the administrative levels affected, including scholarly and management fields of work.

Gewaltprävention – Persönlichkeitsförderung durch Kunstprojekte
The AWO day care centre "Am Gutshof" and the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg jointly initiated a project in the field of aesthetic education, which has meanwhile been being realised for ten years. Information, practical examples and the concept for the initiative can be found in German on the website.

Kinder zum Olymp! The Youth Initiative of the Cultural Foundation of the German States 
promotes ideas for cooperation between children, young people and culture, stimulates new concepts for cooperation between culture and schools, and builds networks for cultural education.

ZeitOrte
The Städtische Galerie is an official partner in the ZeitOrte network. The tourism region BraunschweigerLAND is the land of time travel. More than eighty ZeitOrte (time-locations) invite you to visit. Thrilling experiences are guaranteed from primitive times to the present time in six different epochs. Discover us directly at: ZeitOrte Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg

WOBSTORIES Internet television Wolfsburg

WEB MUSEEN The search and information portal for museums