Umschlossene Orte.... 2012-2018


Umschlossene Orte - Mystik im Fokus der Kunst

Enclosed Places - Mysticism in Focus of the Art



Mit ihren „Gebetspfeilen“ bezieht sich Annemarie Matzakow zunächst traditionell auf das „In den Himmel Schicken“ der Gebete, wie dies z. B. bei Gebetsfahnen üblich ist. Sie benutzt aber Pfeile, an denen Tücher appliziert sind. Pfeile haben ähnlich wie Spieße eine zielgerichtete Dynamik, Pfeile sind auch eine Metapher für Weg, Ziel und Schütze im Zen Buddhismus. Zwischen Himmel und Erde tritt die Stange in Form von Pfahl oder Baum als Mittler im Schamanismus auf. Eine multidimensionale Arbeit bezogen auf die rituelle Zuwendung zu einem transzendenten, über uns Gedachten.


Prof. Dr. Reinhard Lohmiller, Ausstellungskatalog (Reform – Religiöse und Profane Schriftkunst, 2017)







Gebetspfeil - Detail





Gebetspfeil - Du bist deine eigene Grenze, erhebe dich darüber! (Hafiz - um 1320 - 1388)









Enclosed Places
Mysticism in focus of the art

Art project by


Annemarie Matzakow and Maria Cristina Tangorra

Mysticism today - The meaning of “Mysticism today” holds an interesting question as there are deeply rooted reservations against this topic. How can we deal with this, and how can we find each our own entry point?

The project emerged from the idea to engage with the subject mysticism, and to get mixed up with the questions what mysticism could mean today and which significance it could have today.

The three notions longing – venture – uncertainty were very helpful in doing so: There is always a longing for spirituality: Man does not live on bread alone... Today, we can re- place bread with the word consumption. The discovery of mysticism can be one way to sa- tisfy the longing for a deeper live and experience.

The venture in the subject mysticism lies in the negativity and the prejudices the term evokes in many people. Thus, it is the artistic task to look at what appears, to recognise and to transform it, for example, in pictorial metaphors and symbols. The task of the audience is to look at the exposed. Uncertainty remains – not only in the approach of what mysticism could mean today artistically, and mainly because there is not just one answer as one can see in the variety of the artistic positions. To approach the term mysticism and to translate it into a pictorial form means to get involved with a highly venturous and unpredictable


Three artists and one art historian came together to follow this lead jointly into the unknown under the heading “Enclosed Places – Mysticism in focus of the art”.


The original meaning of the word mysticism is “secretly, inexplicable, hidden” und the derivation from ancient Greek refers to the meaning “to close”: The closing of eyes, mouth and senses to renunciate the world. Simultaneously, the inner senses open up to get closer to the aspired visionary insight, the visio beatifica. The world of mysticism with its metaphysi- cal linking is a universal phenomenon and can be found in nearly all religions. The focus of the artistic creation lies on the detection of this transreligious essence, on the visualisation of it in a very subjective manner, on questioning it, and on mirroring it with the help of ci- phers and metaphorical pictures. The unconceivable, the non-tangible, the ineffable and the non-visible are transformed through a variety of artistic expressions and media into works specifically made for this topic. The artists are guided by intuition, as well as doubts, ideally in the continuum of their creative power.

The significance of mysticism plays an important role for the group in that it is a historical and biographical recorded phenomena on the one hand. On the other hand it is interesting to learn whether mysticism contextualised in contemporary society, which measures ever- ything in monetary profit, can still offer insight. In the light of these questions the artists have a vision but not a mission. To accept the Other in the human, and to listen to the spiritual experiences from mystics, shamans, healers and enlightened from different cultures, requires openness, courage and awareness.

Dealing with this theme demands stepping on unknown grounds, and expanding personal horizon of experience from the artists as well as the visitors of the exhibition.

Fruitful dialogs can grow on the basis of this shared venture and horizons can expand invisibly; convergences without statements of faith can be facilitated and reservations towards the unknown can dissolve silently. Art can achieve this socially significant transfer uncondi- tionally, at any time.


Annemarie Matzakow works with the approach that mysticism is a phenomenon which is tied to religiosity within the human. The reconnection (re-ligio) to something higher is an existential human need, that has led to a variety of cultic manifestations, and which can be understood as spiritual need in general.

With her art inspired by the Song of Solomon as well as arabic calligraphy - for example in the assemblage “Prayer Call” - Annemarie Matzakow builds a bridge between the different spiritual-religious orientations of Abrahamitic cultures, between occident and orient. In creating her Prayer Arrows she shaped new and extraordinary forms of a spiritual attitude which can express a deeply mystical experience. The arrow serves as metaphor of movement towards the divine, the mystical ascension: It pierces through time and space symbo- lising the instant access to god in prayer according to the via illuminativa, and thus it has its very own significance.



The basis of my work on mysticism are texts from Christian, Jewish and Muslim mystics from the last centuries. The focus of their contemplation is the potential of human consciousness.

I understand the fundamental realisations from these various mystics as one big evolutionary dialogue that reaches and effects the present day. With my work I draw on this dialogue. With artistic tools I create an awareness-sculpture, interrelating different cultures and religions with each other.


Gruppe Gebetspfeile

A. Matzakow - Gebetspfeile - Prayer Arrows

Maria Cristina Tangorra introduces “Twelve Gardens” with her space-consuming floor in- stallation, which trace back to the mystic Catherine of Bologna (Caterina da Bologna, 1413-1463). She evokes a garden in in the centre of a monastery cloister – a hortus con- clusus. The garden is an intercultural metaphor for the paradise as well as the place for mystical encounters with god. In her paintings and installations, the artist has a multi-layered access to mysticism, which is in her understanding a religious depth even in our pre- sence. In a diptych, she paints the sacred purity of water as cultic-cultural symbolic power and stages the view of the heavens as an equivocal reflection. In another diptych, she painted light-metaphors as motifs of a divine reflection, composed into geometrical con- structions. An installation of a ladder imagines metaphorically the ascension of mystical spirituality and the path to visionary insight. The artist uses in her work the symbolic lan- guage of the heavens and earth as well as nature symbols like fruits and gardens in manifold ways to realise her perception of mysticism vividly.






Objekte zur Ausstellung "Mystik Heute. Sehnsucht, Wagnis, Ungewissheit"

Georg Scholz Haus Kunstforum Waldkirch, 4. - 25. Mai 2014



Sich dem Begriff Mystik künstlerisch anzunähern und ihn in eine bildnerische Form zu übersetzen, bedeutet, sich auf einen höchst wagemutigen und zugleich unvorhersehbaren Prozess einzulassen. Die Welt der Mystik mit ihren metaphysischen Anbindungen findet sich als universelles Phänomen in nahezu allen Religionen wieder. Diese transreligiöse Essenz aufzuspüren, auf ganz subjektive Weise zu visualisieren, zu hinterfragen und mittels Chiffren und metaphorischer Bilder zu spiegeln, darauf ruht der Fokus des künstlerischen Schaffens der Beteiligten. Für sie ist von Interesse, ob Mystik im Kontext unserer modernen Gesellschaft, die fast alles an einem ökonomischen Nutzen misst, überhaupt noch ein Erkenntnis bringender Begriff sein kann.

(Susanne Meier-Faust M.A., Kuratorin)

Denn was sichtbar ist, das ist zeitlich; was aber unsichtbar ist, das ist ewig (2 Kor. 4,18) 2014

"Denn was sichtbar ist, das ist zeitlich; was aber unsichtbar ist, das ist ewig. (2 Kor. 4,18)



birgt er einen Zauber

Sag, birgt er einen Zauber, an deinem Hals der Schmuck? (Das Hohe Lied Salomos, 4:9)




Is there Life before Death?.....That is the Question! (Anthony de Mello, 20. Jh.) 2014

Is there Life Before Death? That is the Question! (Anthony de Mello, 20. Jh.)



Die Suche

Wenn jeder eine Insel ist





When you realise Me, then you realise Yourself. (Ibn Arabi, 12. Jh., Spanien) 2014

When you realise Me, then you realise Yourself. (Ibn Arabi, 12. Jh. Spanien)











Skulpturen aus Kunststoffgeflechten



Talking Timbuktu






Time Machine Homo Sapiens

Time Machine Homo Sapiens - Detail














copyright by Annemarie Matzakow