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From September 12 to November 27, 2022, the installation "wie bitte" by Berlin artist Via Lewandowsky will be on view at St. Matthew's Church at Berlin's Kulturforum. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's translation of the Bible, the 80-channel sound installation with a participatory choir of whisperers poses the question of the possibility of understanding between man and man and God and man.

Matthäus-Kirche am Berliner Kulturforum mit Ptsdamer Platz, Panorama
Matthäus-Kirche am Berliner Kulturforum mit Ptsdamer Platz, Panorama © visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien


500 years ago - in September 1522 - the reformer Martin Luther published the first part of his translation of the Bible into German - a milestone of the Reformation and a milestone for the comprehensibility of the Holy Scriptures, until today formative for the development of the German language.


But do we understand what we read and hear? - This is the question that artist Via Lewandowsky addresses in his 80-channel sound installation in Berlin's St. Matthew's Church: under the motto "wie bitte", Via Lewandowsky places the visitors inside the church in a choir of whisperers who speak biblical psalms into the church space on the borderline of comprehensibility.


The biblical psalms are crisis texts: millennia-old pleas for help and salvation, thanks for protection received - prayers of humanity that have captured and shaped the hopes and requests of people over millennia. Above them the all-defining question: Does anyone hear us in our need? Are our prayers heard and answered?


With the 80-channel sound installation "wie bitte" Via Lewandowsky explores in the space of St. Matthew's Church the understanding and non-understanding of our conversations, our talking to the other person, the silence and the waiting for answers.


The psalms were recorded by members of the Friends of the St. Matthew's Foundation and by volunteers of the St. Matthew's Church - the participants could choose their favorite psalm.


  • St. Matthew's Church (Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin) is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.
  • The sound installation by Via Lewandowsky can be visited free of charge.
Via Lewandowsky (*1963 in Dresden) is a contemporary artist living in Berlin. He works in the fields of installation, object art, sculpture, performance and painting, among others. From 1982 to 1987 Via Lewandowsky studied at the Dresden University of Fine Arts. Between 1985 and 1989 he organized subversive performances with the avant-garde group "Auto-Perforations-Artisten", which undermined the official art establishment of the GDR. His multimedia practice focuses on sculptural-installative works and exhibition scenographies with architectural influences.
His leitmotifs are always misunderstanding as a consequence of the failure of communication as well as the processual. An ironic refraction of the everyday, the intrusion of the foreign into the familiar, usually domestic sphere, often occurs through the use of insignia of the German bourgeoisie (e.g. a cuckoo clock or a budgie). His predilection for the tragic-comic, the absurd, and the paradoxical, as well as the Sisyphus motif of constant repetition and futility of action, connect his art to Dadaism, Surrealism, and Fluxus.


Via Lewandowsky's work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions around the world, most recently including. at the Château de Nyon (2022), Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin (2022), Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg (2021), Daegue Art Museum in South Korea (2021), the Jewish Museum, Berlin (2020), Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2019), the Bongsan Cultural Center in South Korea (2019), the Shedhalle, Zurich (2018), the David Nolan Gallery, New York (2017), the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig (2016) or the Kunsthalle zu Kiel (2015).






Opening: Sun. September 11, 2022, 6 p.m. in the context of the hORA service.
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