In 2023, the Jewish Community of Frankfurt celebrated its refounding 75 years ago. To commemorate the anniversary year, the Jewish Museum Frankfurt has been exhibiting a series of photographs created in 2021 by the artist Laura J. Padgett featuring the striking architecture of the Westend Synagogue. The works are presented in a side room dedicated to contemporary art.
In her photographs from the Regenerating Permanence series, Laura J. Padgett investigates the tension between revival and regeneration on the one hand and stability and durability on the other. The works constitute an in-depth study of this unique and monumental building, which opened its doors in 1910 and continues to captivate visitors with its tremendous architectural orchestration of the sacred. Unlike ordinary documentary photographs of buildings, Padgett’s images concentrate on presence and disappearance, transitions and interstices. She reveals the traces, signs, and textures in space as well as the simultaneity of the non-simultaneous. In avoiding central axes and frontal views, her shift in perspective and attention to detail evidence a sensitive exploration of the site.
About the Artist
Laura J. Padgett (born 1958 in Cambridge, USA) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. From 1983 to 1985, she continued her studies in film and photography with Peter Kubelka and Herbert Schwöbel at the Städelschule. In 1994 she received her Magister Artium in art history and aesthetics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Laura J. Padgett has been exhibiting since the 1990s; her works and films have been shown at international venues including the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna; the Fotomuseum Winterthur; Städel Museum, Frankfurt; the House of World Cultures, Berlin; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Pharos Center for Contemporary Art, Nicosia; and Museum Giersch, Frankfurt am Main.
In addition to her exhibition activities, Laura J. Padgett writes regularly on the subjects of film, art, and aesthetic theory. She has been teaching at various universities since 1990, among them the Bauhaus University in Weimar, the Offenbach University of Art and Design, Paderborn University, the German Jordanian University in Amman, and Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main.
Padgett’s works are in various public and private collections, including the Städel Museum’s Graphic Collection, Frankfurt am Main; Huis Marseille, Museum of Photography, Amsterdam; Deutsche Bank Art Collection and DZ BANK Art Collection, Frankfurt am Main; Museion, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bolzano; Sir John Soane’s Museum, London; Museum of Arts and Crafts, Hamburg; Cathedral and Diocesan Museum, Mainz; City Museum Simeonstift, Trier; Museum Wiesbaden; State of Rhineland-Palatinate; State of Hesse; and the City of Frankfurt. Laura Padgett lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.
The Westend Synagogue in Frankfurt
The Westend Synagogue regards itself as a significant site. The building, designed in Art Nouveau style by the architect Franz Roeckle, was inaugurated on September 28, 1910. It includes several prayer and meeting rooms that were set on fire during the November pogrom of 1938. The building itself was preserved, however, and was reconsecrated as a synagogue in 1950. Since that time, it has served as the central place of worship for Frankfurt’s Jews, who come from a variety of different religious movements.
This exhibition was made possible by the Georg and Franziska Speyer Scholarship Foundation in honor of Prof. Dr. Salomon Korn, chairman of the Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Jewish Museum Frankfurt
Opened today: 10:00 – 17:00
- Museum ticket (permanent exhibition Jewish Museum+Judengasse) normal/reduced12€ / 6 €
- Kombiticket (temporary exhibition+ museum ticket) normal/reduced14€ / 7€
- Temporary Exhibition7€
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Bertha-Pappenheim-Platz 1, 60311 Frankfurt am Main