The Sorbian museum also has special rooms with a total area of 220 m². The exhibitions are complementary and add further depth to the selection of permanent exhibitions and are mostly concerned with national minorities or regional characteristics – suitable for our museum. Slavic nationalities and their cultural traditions are of particular interest.
The art exhibitions complement the programmatic orientation and open up a new way of looking at certain topics.
What’s on 2021
20 Sept. – 09 May 2021 Colours in the distance. The painter Ante Trstenjak and the Sorbs of Lusatia
30 May – 26 Sept. 2021 Maja Nagel „zeitschläge. von weiß bis schwarz“
17 Oct. – 27 Febr. 2022 „5 x Germany“, Photographer Jörg Müller
20 September 2020 – 09 May 2021
Colours oft the distance.
The painter Ante Trstenjak and the Lusatian Sorbs
Lusatia plays an important role in the work of the Slovenian artist Ante Trstenjak (1894–1970). Fascinated by the diverse costumes of Sorbian women and girls, he traveled to Upper and Lower Lusatia for studies that shaped his artistic work until the 1960s.
During his first stay in Lusatia in 1928, 30 paintings as well as numerous sketches and drafts were made in addition to depictions of traditional costumes, landscapes, city and village views.
Prague was the home of the painter for a long time: he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (1920–1923) and worked here until he moved to Maribor in Slovenia in 1950. During his studies he wanted to capture Lusatia and its Sorbian costumes. Decisive for this was the Lusatian work cycle by the Czech painter Ludvík Kuba exhibited in Prague in 1922.
The exhibition and the accompanying catalog of the Sorbian Museum in Bautzen were created in close cooperation with the Umetnostna galerija Maribor and the Národní muzeum Prague as well as other partners at home and abroad. The exhibition catalog is only the second more extensive monograph on the artist.
The catalog accompanying the special exhibition (ISBN 978-3-9822276) is available in the museum shop for 19,90 €.
Paris, Justizpalastum 1927, Aquarell auf Papier, Umetnostna galerija Maribor
Blick vom Hradschin auf Prag14. Juni 1922, Aquarell, Umetnostna galerija Maribor
Bautzen / Budyšin1929, Öl auf Leinwand, Umetnostna galerija Maribor
Hermank w Błótach / Jahrmarkt im Spreewald1928, Öl auf Leinwand, Serbski muzej
Grobla w Błótach / Spreewaldfließum 1928, Öl auf Leinwand, Sorbisches Museum
The permanent exhibition at the Sorbian Museum in Bautzen leads you on an 830 m² tour from the early history to the present day. There is a thematically independent department of visual arts.
Start of the exhibition
The first part of the exhibition in the foyer presents a historical and linguistic classification of today’s Sorbs and their ancestors. Selected exhibits from each part of the museum will give you an overview of the central areas of the Sorbian identity.
In the following room the time of Slavic settlement, the High Middle Ages and the Reformation in Lusatia is shown. The next exhibition space displays areas of typical regional craft – for example forest beekeeping, fisheries and aquaculture, which formed an important industry since the Middle Ages.
Working and living conditions of the sorbs
Afterwards, you enter an area divided into four rooms with the themes: domestic living, costumes and customs during the course of the year. This includes traditional music.
The literature exhibition can be found in the ballroom. The largest room of the museum has two floors, because it used to be the court room of the Amtsgericht (local court) Bautzen. It is decorated with pictures of Sorbian scientists and writers. Beneath the gallery, the triptych by the Slovenian artist Ante Trstenjak shows important thinkers and creators of culture of the Sorbian cultural movement. The glass cases beneath the gallery display old prints and literary monuments.
On the left and right hand side of the room, there are cabinets with the works of important representatives of literary modernism. In the gallery, you can relax in the library and page through one of the numerous books.
Special events such as concerts and exhibition openings are held in the ballroom.
After the ballroom, the tour leads you to modern times and the national movement in general. Here the national consciousness of Slavic people, the literary and scientific studies of the Sorbian -Wends as well as other key factors of historical development are presented. In the middle of the space is the so-called Smoler room – as a reference to the outstanding personality of the Sorbian national revival.
A separate plaque is dedicated to the Sorbian emigrants overseas.
The ballroom doors lead into the special exhibition area in the east wing of the building.
Children's museum & Contemporary history
The visitors can look at the area dedicated to “Early Childhood”. The combined children’s museum is also an educational area and part of the permanent exhibition.
The department of modern history displays the development of the Sorbian associations, from the time of foundation until the reunification of Germany, and the position of the German public authorities as well as various other aspects of being a Sorb. And finally, we arrive at the present time.
This is a nice opportunity to leave the “historical timeline” and receive a visual impression not only of Sorbian but also of Upper Lusatia and Lausitz – enjoy this tour through the department of fine arts.
The Sorbian Museum has the largest collection of Sorbian art, including impressive portrayals and portraits of people, landscapes and watercolour paintings.
Bookable traveling exhibition
„Bevor du gehst“ (before you go)
Photos by Matthias Bulang
An extensive collection of photos of the last Sorbian costume makers in Bautzen by the photographer Matthias Bulang (created 1985-2011) was the starting point of an exhibition and book project entitled “Bevor du gehst”. This project was run in collaboration with two other Sorbian artists – the writer Róža Domašcyna and the composer Měrćin Weclich.
Classic black-and-white photos that Matthias Bulang has taken with a conventional plate camera are exhibited. He places the women portrayed into a distinctive environment and provides them with vocational and work-specific elements. The women in these photos remain nameless and stand for all women of their generation. Most of women are no longer alive. The almost life-size portraits convey the illusion that the women are still among us and looking straight at us.
In this short moment, you forget about the question: What will we have lost, when none of these women are among us anymore?
These photos by Matthias Bulang are a tribute to all the plain Sorbian women who heroically mastered everyday life. Despite the loads imposed on their generation and the hostility they had to face because of their Sorbian dress and native language, they kept their courage, faith and love to their people.
This is a multimedia exhibition. With headphones the visitor can listen to texts of the Sorbian poet Róža Domašcyna. The poet reflects on the life of her mother, who also wore the Sorbian costume. Domašcyna approaches the questions about the meaning of life and wants to know what drew this generation of women together.
The Sorbian composer Měrćin Weclich was inspired by these photographs. His compositions that have been specially created for these pictures frame the spoken word and make an emotional connection to the photographs of the exhibition.
48 banners with art photographs and quotations in Upper Sorbian and German
Dimensions: each 800 x 2500 mm
1 title banner, dimensions 1300 x 2500 mm
"Serbska hola. Slědy w pěsku"
In the heath region. Sorbian traditions on a razor’s edge?
The exhibition explores the Sorbian roots of the Lusatian heath region between Senftenberg, Hoyerswerda, Spremberg, Weißwasser and Bad Muskau. Furthermore, the identity and changing values of the people living there – including the influence of industrialization – is examined.
The unique costumes and traditions of the Sorbs in the heath region have survived to this day – however, this traditional and several centuries old system is on a razor’s edge due to brown coal mining, the destruction of Sorbian towns and the influx of thousands of immigrants into the area.
“Sorbisches auf der Kippe – Sorbian traditions on a razor’s edge” – the title of this exhibition consciously plays with certain associations. Because not only Sorbian villages but also the Sorbian language and identity in this region are on a razor’s edge. And, a lot of memories are carelessly thrown away. But exactly because of this loss, the interest in the preservation of the heritage of the ancestors is growing.
10 roll-ups in Upper Sorbian and German with numerous photographs
Dimensions: each 2000 mm x 1000 mm