Vita Contemplativa

Architektur Galerie Satellit – Berlin
6. July – 18. August 2018


The term vita contemplativa goes back to the ancient philosophers Aristole and Epicurus and has been deepened in the Middle Ages by Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the eponymous order, and the Dominican Thomas Aquinas. In vita contemplativa they saw the human ideal. This form of life was preferred to “activism” in order to “find the right balance between the search for the absolute and the commitment to daily responsibilitiy, between calmness of contemplation and lethargy in service,” as Pope Francis said in a speech “ora et labora” (Praying and Working) 2016 in Rome. (Libera Editrice Vaticana, Rome, 2016). In it, he criticizes that the right balance between vita activa and vita contemplativa has been lost, due to the onset of modern age and increasingly since capitalism. 
The book on the exhibition vita contemplativa at the Architektur Galerie Berlin presents buildings by three young architects from Germany, Poland and Norway. They stand for an intensive examination of the way of life that is devoted to contemplation and reflection, which is deeply anchored in the history of European philosophy. 
In the metaphorical sense, the exhibition intends to encourage people to rediscover the balance between ora et labora. A vision described by Friedrich Nietzsche as early as 1882 in “Architecture of our minds”: “Once, and probably soon, the insight is needed, which is especially lacking in our big cities: quite and vast, vast places for reflection, (…) which as a whole express the sublimity of self-contemplation and by-side walking.” (Friedrich Nietzche, “The Joyful Science “, Fourth Book, Aphorism No. 280”, 1882).