we are pleased to invite you to the opening of the exhibition
The Oberammergau Passion Play
17 May - 3 October 2022
Tuesday through Sunday 11:00am - 17:00pm
entrance is free
The exhibition has been curated by Dr. Andreas Kaernbach, chief curator of the collection of the German Parliament.
The museum of the German Parliament presents a major collection of color photographs by German Artist Christopher Thomas from his extensive cycle Passion. The photographs were taken during rehearsals for the Oberammergau Passion Play in April and May 2010. In accordance with a vow pledged in 1633, every ten years amateur actors from the community perform the play of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christopher Thomas was fascinated by the events in the Bible, a story that, as he puts it, “contains everything that moves us deeply as human beings.” Hence he focuses his camera on the expression of profoundly human emotions and religious feelings such as hope, suffering, astonishment, horror, and joy.
The photographs do not depict scenes from the play such as the famous crowd scenes but rather individual protagonists, their faces and individual forms: singers from the chorus, merchants, soldiers, a few of the disciples, Mary, Jesus. The essential is grasped and apprehended through the dedication of these individuals. The emphasis of the world of human emotions is further emphasized by the reduced spectrum of colors, manifested in warm, subtly modulated shades of gray, black, and brown against a muted, dark background.
Christopher Thomas has succeeded in capturing in his photographs the incredible energy and emotion of the performance. At the same time, he created timeless impressions of the Passion that are influenced by the classic paintings. Very deliberately he brings to mind the great Passion cycles of Western painting, such as the Crucifixion scenes of Holbein the Elder, Caravaggio, Zurbarán, Rembrandt, and others.