In the Middle Ages, both sides of consciousness – towards the world and towards the inside of man himself – lay under a common veil, dreaming or wide awake … In Italy this veil first fades into the air; it awakens an objective contemplation and treatment of the nation and of all things of this world in general; next to it, however, the subjective rises with full power; man becomes spiritual individual and recognizes himself as such.

(Jakob Burckhardt)

The Manifestation of Volumes references this era and seeks to create a space of perception that bridges the gap between this period and what is still an ongoing pre-configuration of the world we live in today.

-> The Manifestation of Volumes | PDF-View

The invention of central perspective, of the virtual “box” space, and the concomitant emergence of a humanism that is also understood optically, i.e., of a so-called world and human “image,” have on the one hand led to the visualization of the human being himself, of his unbreakable dignity and individuality, but on the other hand have also laid the foundations for an order of visibility that has today risen to become ubiquitous mainstream; The physical limits of visibility and our notions of image, human being and space are more and more subjected to a machine-based visual culture controlled by algorithms, in which new realities are created.

Christian Kupke

“God” – whoever is the creator of the image-formed world – cannot supply the deception, i.e. pretend the factual pure or impure, true or untrue. Only the human being can do that, and he is able to do still more; he can also lie and cheat, proceed violently or murder nonsensically, no matter whether the factual is accepted by him profanely or sacrally, manipulated or comes about simply by fraud. The viewer sees himself watching by taking up visual offers and thus switching off seeing, while he approvingly believes everything – be it dependent or independent, be it profane or sacral. …

Arthur Engelbert


Chamber Version

Composition by Arvo Pärt „Spiegel im Spiegel“, Cello-Piano-Version (9 Min. and 33 Sec.) – Sebastian Klinger (Cello) and Jürgen Kruse (Piano).
With kindly support Brilliant Classics – The Netherlands.

The installation: In a small, all-black “box room,” the figure of the dreaming Joachim squats on a pedestal as a three-dimensionally reproduced sculpture, which in turn has been digitally processed as a 3D print. In analogy to the “angel” of the fresco, a flat screen (free-hanging, slanted, with image surface facing Joachim) is mounted laterally, on the left under the ceiling. The monitor shows a video painting on which images from various media documentaries on the subject of “surveillance and tracking systems” (without sound) have been processed to such an extent that only fragile image segments can be perceived behind a slowly moving play of color and light. To be heard in 2-channel stereo will be the composition by Arvo Pärt “Spiegel im Spiegel”, in the version cello-piano by Sebastian Klinger (cello) and Jürgen Kruse (piano), published by: Brilliant Classics, 2010.

THE MESSAGE (Joachim’s Dream) | Exhibition: Museo degli Angeli| Sant’Angelo di Brolo | Sicily

JOACHIM’S DREAM (Videostills)

Moving Canvas (solo-version)


full version (draft)

In the years 1304 – 1306, the Italian painter Giotto di Bondone, commissioned by Enrico Scrovegni, created 38 murals in the Capella Scrovegni (Padua/Italy) with scenes from the lives of St. Joachim and Anna, their daughter Mary and from the life of Jesus Christ. With this work Giotto is today considered the founder of Renaissance painting and the inventor of Central perspective and Virtual space.

Joachim‘s Dream is one of these frescoes. Günther released the picture figure of Joachim from the fresco, gave it a 3-dimensional body, “biometrically” captured and digitally reproduced as “souvenirs”. A “souvenir” that recalls a story that began about 700 years ago. ….


free 3D-replica of the pictorial figure, styrodur, hight: app. 24 cm

Joachim’s Dream

2x plaster, styrodur, acrylic paint, hight: approx. 24 cm

JOACHIM’S DREAM – Souvenirs (shades)

pigment prints, diff. sizes


digital multiple, 3D-print, polymere plaster, hight approx.: 12 cm

JOACHIM’S DREAM – Souvenirs (colours)

digital multiple, 3D-print, polymere plaster, hight approx.: 12 cm

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Sen-Giotto – The Manifestation of Volumes is an art installation that explores parallels between the work of Italian Renaissance artist Giotto di Bondone and today’s prevalent visual messaging techniques. The installation juxtaposes Giotto’s system of illustrating biblical passages as sequential depictions of deities with the continuous image streams that surround us daily.

The exhibit integrates 3 elements:

A vaulted projection screen that evokes the interior envelope of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy – Giotto’s most revered project – and reflects live projection feeds from global satellite TV stations.

Three composite marble slabs placed in the center of the projection vault evoke Giotto’s Life of Joachim sequence from the Scrovegni Chapel. A series of 3-D printed halos, each derived from one of Giotto’s Joachim scenes, is inserted into water-jetted cutouts in the square sides of the slabs.

Sen Giotto – The Manifestation of Volumes is embedded in a modulating soundscape. Processed sound fragments from the satellite TV feeds, weaved through electronic and acoustic score sections, create an undulating and quietly evolving sonic backdrop for the installation.

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The Halo (Joachim‘s Life)

frieze of 6 plates, each: pigmentprint with gold leaf, 59,4 cm x 42 cm

The Halo (Joachim‘s Life) I exhibition view

frieze of 6 plates, each: Nero assoluto with inlays of smoked oak, gold leaf, steal frame, 30cm x 30cm x 2cm

…the aureole seems to have lost its place among men, withdrawn itself into a distance from which it can no longer be retrieved, can no longer appear, or appear only in such a way that it acquires a completely new function in the visible – as a pure constellation in space, as a pure reference context that refers to nothing more than (in the meta-picture): transcendence. …

Excerpt: Notes on the work of Detlef Günther, Christian Kupke, September 2017

The Halo (Joachim‘s Life)

frieze of 6 plates, each: Thassos marble with inlays of smoked oak, gold leaf, wooden frame, 30cm x 30cm x 2cm

The Halo (Joachim‘s Life)

lithobox with 6 lithos (Chine Collé), each: 22cm x 22cm

The Halo (Presentation)

oil on hardboard, 220 cm x 200 cm

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… The dreamer is asked to believe and agree to what he or she can only partially recognize in the waking state, just like the viewer in front of the picture, who follows the parable of seeing and transfers it to the reality of the image. …

The SOMNIUM-scetchbook (pdf_german) you will find HERE.

SOMNIUM – The Reality of the Image. EVA Berlin-Kulturforum Staatliche Museen Berlin, 2017

Exhibition accompanying the lecture

SOMNIUM is a project by Detlef Günther and Arthur Engelbert.
The SOMNIUM-scetchbook (pdf_german) you will find HERE.

The 21st Century – Confessio (The 700-year-old Dream)

Installation, mixed media (draft 2017)

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