Exhibition — Anna Reutinger: Worldly Hearts
In the 15th century, Kloster Klingental was home to a radical group of nuns, who were adept businesswomen and lived against the code of monastic life, creating lavish rooms for themselves, keeping secular books and clothing, and often leaving the convent for swimming and other excursions. During a wave of monastic reforms of papal order, they were asked to relinquish all personal possessions and live a confined life, to which they boldly resisted in numerous ingenious ways. Through chants and recited verses, they made the reading of reform instructions impossible; they threatened to burn down the convent completely; they took up arms against those sent to reform them; they collectively left the convent and continued to wage their war abroad, stealing the convent seal and continuing to run their businesses; and they eventually bribed the Archduke Sigmund of Austria to use his influence to revoke the papal reform order.
“Worldly hearts” is an installation and performative craft workshop hosted at Austellungsraum Klingental, a longstanding artist-run exhibition space situated within the former cloister. In December 2023, Artist Anna Reutinger invited local women participants to reimagine the complex story of the nuns of Klingental and their resistance to restraint through a contemporary lens. Participants were presented with texts from the convent archive and a set of craft techniques and exercises with which to imagine different aspects of the story of the nuns, weaving in personal anecdotes, contemporary grievances, and techniques of resistance. Reutinger then constructs works based on her research alongside materials developed in the workshop, with natural dyed and sewn quilts and tapestries depicting scenes from the tale, and a soundtrack with the voices of workshop participants.