Simon Wachsmuth, Pax Optima Rerum, 2017, dimensions variablel, Sammlung Marta / Realized for the Marta Prize of Wemhöner Foundation, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Photo: Hans Schroeder

Simon Wachsmuth: Pax Optima Rerum
Marta Award by the Wemhöner Foundation
17.05. – 21.06.2017

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With the thirty Year’s War and the Peace of Westphalia as the starting point, the media and concept artist Simon Wachsmuth creates an imaginary museum in the Marta lobby that transports these traces of history into the present and allows us to experience them aesthetically.


Proceeding from the events and the after-effects of the Thirty Years’ War, with “Pax Optima Rerum” (peace is the greatest good) Simon Wachsmuth presents a four-wheeled cart reminiscent of that of Mother Courage. The cart is also a symbol for the mobility of images and an allusion to the term “Bilderfahrzeug”, or “image vehicle”, coined by the well-known art historian Aby Warburg. With this Warburg was referring to the transfer of history to new contexts of content.

With the installation the Marta Prize-winner is pursuing the question as to how documents, monuments and images as materialised memories can form our cultural memory and understanding of history. Using especially collected and researched materials from the city and the region of Herford, he spins a web from the historical events from a local perspective up to the present.

The installation is meant to be seen as an active, non-complete object: while it is on display in the Marta Lobby, visitors are welcome to use the materials as a basis for discussion. As well as the constant extension of the work as long as it exists, it is also planned to show it at other locations such as town halls, churches or schools.


Marta Prize of the Wemhöner Foundation

The Marta Prize of the Wemhöner Foundation comes with an endowment of 25,000 Euro and provides for the commissioning of a prominent artistic work every two years for the Marta Collection. This is to be developed locally in line with the collection and exhibition focus of the museum – the living engagement with international contemporary art and questions of design and architecture.

The seven-person jury, comprising of Heiner Wemhöner, Annabelle Countess of Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff, Dr. Hannes Frank, Dr. h.c. Lutz Teutloff, Dr. Martin Engler, Martin J. Hörmann and Roland Nachtigäller, unanimously selected Simon Wachsmuth, who had been proposed for the prize by Mario Codognato (former head curator 21er Haus, Vienna).


Thank you


Many thanks to the Marta Herford Corporate Partners und Corporate Premium Partners as well as the Marta Fund for New Art for their ongoing support of our program.