“The synagogue in Stommeln is one of the few synagogues in Germany that were neither destroyed during the pogroms of 1938 nor razed during the post-war surge in urban renewal. Steering clear of the current art scene with its monumental edifices and art show extravaganzas, the art room in Stommeln seeks to take an alternative approach – a downscaling approach. “One Location – One Room – One Work of Art” A secluded, quiet building and a single artwork invite contemplation …” (cited from the draft concept “Synagoge Stommeln,” edited by the Culture Department of the City of Pulheim, 1991)
During the 20-year history of art shows in Stommeln, artists probed the room, and often chose to position themselves in radical simplicity. Christoph Keller and Mirko Borsche actually take the semantic and formal radicalisation a step further by switching media, and by opting for the format of a book rather than a show in the classic sense. Their Stommeln Psalmbook (“Stommelner Psalter”) engages with the religious purpose of the building, and picks up on our religious roots.
The Stommeln Psalm Book is based on the translations of the Biblical psalms that Moses Mendelssohn published in 1783, which was the basis for the prayer books and liturgical rite of the Jewish congregation in the 19th century.
The psalms are a carefully typeset selection of the hymns that represent one of the theological foundations both of the Christian and the Jewish creeds.
The Stommeln Psalm Book reads in the same direction as Hebrew writing, whereas its form approximates that of Christian prayer books, and the material used, including carbon fibre, reflects the latest advances in printing technique.
The typesetting represents the first-time use of the font Stommeln that Mirko Borsche developed expressly for the purpose.
The Torah ark at Stommeln Synagogue is always stocked with copies, and encourages visitors to take the Stommeln Psalm Book back home with them.