On Being an Artist – Johannes Manz Day Three

by Geoff Hall on January 11, 2012

We continue our series ‘On Being an Artist’ with gallery owner, Johannes Manz from Neustadt in Germany.

"Morgenstern II" (Morningstar), Oil on Canvas by Birgit Manz

Many of us have suffered from Institutional rejection, whether from the Church or  from secularised organisations. Our Arts education is based on the intensity of a course in which a group of people  expend their energies and which inspires a sense of connectedness and purpose. When we leave the Institution of Learning  we are left alone and we wonder where this supportive community has gone. How then will we work as an artists? Generally (and there are some exceptions) we are not told how to develop our skills professionally, we are not mentored, but somehow remain isolated until the desire to live and work as an artist evaporates. There appears no artistic context with which to continue.

The truth is that the ecclesiastical home-from-home can eradicate the will to live; to be creative, because it is either artistically sterile or antagonistic.  The only spiritual direction given to many artists is to cease from their sensual pursuits, or create the posters for some evangelical campaign or other!

Johannes is aware of such tensions.


Johannes Manz, owner of the Aspekt Galerie

If there was one thing you could change about the relationship between the Church and the Arts, what would it be?


Less Ignorance, more Appreciation.

Now and then we invite the congregation we belong to, for an after-service coffee. Usually most of the worshippers come for coffee not so much for the art’s sake. But that is OK for us, because we believe that in the long-run some of these unspeakable effects of good Art will remain, grow and bring forth fruit in them.


About Ignorance: We understand that the Iconoclasm of some Reformers along with wrong teaching in the churches, isolated believers from the understanding of what Art is about and how essential it is for both the personal and the social or community life. A twisted understanding of Art also cuts people off from the fascinating and beautiful facets of God’s nature and loving-kindness. Men wither and coarsen in some way, without the influence of meaningful Art.


The Aspekt Galerie exhibits suspiciously sensual art, that is, it appeals to our senses. It is often suggested that modern living dulls them, with its frentic pace and pressure of ‘keeping it all together’.  In the light of this the Aspekt Galerie offers a space to slow down, to take the time to ponder. The gallery resensitises us, awakens our spiritual faculties.

"Sinnvol" (full of meaning) - Wood, Gold, Oil-Paint by Udo Mathee

You can check out the Aspekt Galerie website by clicking on the link to more works by Udo Mathee. His sense of beauty and brokenness enthrals me! Life may be full of meaning, but we are nonetheless broken, or should I say, in the process of being repaired.

Many thanks go to Johannes and Birgit Manz, for their passion and vision for the gallery; a space which welcomes the artist and supports their work. It also helps break the pattern of ignorance & antagonism, as people are exposed to great art.



Geoff x





Leave your comment


Required. Not published.

If you have one.