Following the council's decision in 1991 to officially establish an art gallery in Osnabrück, the first exhibition of the newly founded Kunsthalle Osnabrück opened in 1993 with Arnulf Rainer. Since then, the exhibition rooms of the former Dominican monastery with its attached 13th century church have hosted artists such as Werner Büttner, Dan Graham, Jörg Immendorff, Cornelia Schleime, Damien Hirst, Daniel Spoerri, Andy Warhol, Daniel Richter, Jorinde Voigt, Amelie von Wulffen, Leiko Ikemura, Via Lewandowsky, Wolfgang Mattheuer, David Schnell, Michael Beutler, Felice Varini, Katharina Hohmann, Heba Y. Amin, Olaf Holzapfel, Jovanna Reisinger, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings, Cemile Sahin, Candice Lin, Anna Haifisch or Erwin Wurm with their works.
In the 30 years of the Kunsthalle, the house has so far been led by three directors. Since its founding, André Lindhorst managed to establish contemporary art as a permanent fixture in the city's cultural landscape, and Julia Draganović opened the view to the fundamental potential of architecture as a framework for site-specific productions and international performance art. Since 2020, Anna Jehle and Juliane Schickedanz have been managing the Kunsthalle. Together with the Kunsthalle team, they create sensual exhibitions by international artists who, together with the audience, negotiate themes of a democratic, diversity-open and plural society in dialogue.
The exhibitions are part of Osnabrück's anniversary program "375 Years of the Peace of Westphalia," which commemorates the signing of the treaty in Münster and Osnabrück in 2023. On the occasion of these two anniversaries and building on the achievements of the last decades of the Kunsthalle, the house would like to mark its thirtieth anniversary with a major exhibition project in the nave, consolidating its own focal points of activity and pointing to the future.
For this purpose, the renowned artist Aram Bartholl could be won with a multi-layered new production. Together with the audience and the artist, the Kunsthalle would like to ask in times of resource struggles, climate change and energy shortages, how do we face the challenges of a sustainable society and how can we jointly shape an institution like the Kunsthalle in the future?
At the same time, under the title "Are you ready?" the Kunsthalle is asking, together with thirty actors from the local scene, what kind of place has the Kunsthalle Osnabrück been in the last thirty years and what kind of institution does it want to be in the future? Invited via a carte blanche principle, the cultural actors will activate the Kunsthalle's new building, courtyard and cloister with thirty pop-up events in a dense and lively program of events. Architecturally, the events will be framed by artist:in Diane Hillebrand. During the anniversary, admission to Kunsthalle Osnabrück is free.
Outside the Kunsthalle, the internationally renowned artist Ibrahim Mahama, who has already participated in the Venice Biennale and the documenta in Kassel and Athens, among others, will realize a project in public space that is unprecedented for Osnabrück. The city's celebration of 375 years of the Peace of Westphalia aims to update the call for peace in the present. Thematically, it will trace the historical trade routes between Osnabrück and the African continent and point to the resulting influence on economic and cultural development in Ghana. The exhibition and research project "TRANSFER(S)", supported by the TURN2 fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, will take place with a site-specific building wrapping of the former Galeria Kaufhof building at Neumarkt in Osnabrück and a program of events in Tamale in Ghana.