Buja alias René Burjack

Where to buy and see art in Worms

Buja alias René Burjack

Werk von Buja alias René Burjack in der Galerie Schauraum

Kunsthandlung Steuer

For almost 100 years, the family-run Kunsthandlung Steuer in Worms has been a reliable contact when it comes to art. Anyone who enters the small shop in the pedestrian zone imagines themselves in another world. Around 600 to 700 works of art are waiting in the shop for art lovers to take home. The palette ranges from originals by regional artists to original paintings by already internationally renowned or young up-and-coming artists. And what father and son, who jointly run the shop, do not have on site, they are of course happy to organise. Organising is a good keyword here, because Helmut and Matthias Steuer also regularly organise exhibitions that are honoured with corresponding vernissages. Most recently, for example, there were exciting shows of work by the well-known Austrian artist Michael Ferner or the German-French artist Ewen Gur. An exhibition is already planned for this autumn (2023). Then the Austrian Klaus Brandner will come along. Probably the biggest exhibition coup was achieved with an impressive show of works by the legendary Markus Lüppertz, who of course did not miss the opportunity to come in person. But not only great art has its place in the art shop. Those looking for unusual gift ideas will also find what they are looking for. On top of that, there is also a fine selection of Worms souvenirs, such as a “Worms cup” designed by the artist Gerh



For a long time, the vacant business premises in Hafergasse were just another building block in the constant transformation of the city centre. Since June 2023, the rooms have served as a meeting place for local artists and anyone who is interested. The place is made possible by the funding programme “Zukunftsfähige Innenstadt”. It is important to those responsible that they do not see themselves as competitors to the Steuer art shop. Rather, they want to give the regional art scene a place where they can present themselves to a large public. A small side effect is that the local artists can of course also sell their works of art. Another side effect is that another vacancy has disappeared, at least temporarily. A problem that plagues many cities. So it is also a question of making the pedestrian zone, in this case Hafergasse, more attractive for potential other tenants and, of course, for the eye of the inner city flaneur. In all these considerations, the focus is nevertheless on the artists, who impress with their versatile creative power on two floors. Four artists who live in and around Worms made the start: Barbara Schauß (painting), Dan Novak (experimental photography), Ulrich Koglin (sculptures) and Sophie Kralenetz (painting). The latter is also responsible for the future selection of artists as curator together with Kulturkoordination. D

Kunstverein Worms 

If you are strolling through the little town of the Nibelungs and tell an acquaintance that you are on your way to the Kunstverein, it can still happen after 20 years that the answer is: “Ah yes, the one in the Prinz Carl Anlage”. But this way leads to the Kunsthaus, of course, and not to the Kunstverein. So be careful! While the Kunsthaus is a forum for artists from Worms who have studios there, the Kunstverein, according to its statutes, sees itself as a non-profit association that cultivates and promotes contemporary art with idealistic aspirations and voluntary commitment. Promoting visual artists and awakening interest in art has been the central goal of the association since 2001. And over the past 20 years, the association has impressively demonstrated how it does this. In figures, this means that in these two decades the association has been able to present around 100 exhibitions with more than 200 artists. Every year, the association invites visitors to four to five exhibitions, which are of course opened with mostly well-attended vernissages. In the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, the association has long since established itself as an important exhibition space for modern art. Since 2008, the Kunstverein has been located in the premises of a former kitchen studio in Renzstraße.

Link: https://kunstverein-worms.de/

Kunsthaus Prinz Carl-Anlage

The Kunsthaus Worms offers around 39 studios as well as separate gallery spaces on 2,500 m² of space spread over four floors. Visitors can take a look around on “open workshop” days or attend exhibitions, workshops & courses. The portfolio is as colourful as life and ranges from classical paintings to modern photography to weaving art and more. One of the most prominent studios is the art workshop of the Worms Lebenshilfe, the Atelier Blau, which is run by the renowned artist Horst Rettig. The idea is inclusion between disabled and non-disabled artists. This fruitful exchange, which is unparalleled in Europe, takes place in the protected environment of the Worms Kunsthaus. The studio can be visited by appointment and, of course, the exciting artworks can be purchased. The works include not only large-scale paintings, but also sculptures or everyday objects such as cups or plates designed by the studio’s artists. . A visit that is definitely worthwhile. There is no separate homepage for the Kunsthaus. Each studio tenant is responsible for his or her own work. Once a year, the Kunsthaus invites visitors to an open day, during which it is also possible to purchase works by the artists working there.

Adresse: Prinz-Carl-Anlage 19, 67547 Worms
Homepageadresse Atelier Blau: https://www.atelierblau.com/

Galerie Schauraum

On the homepage of the city of Worms, this gallery is advertised as an art venue for the independent art scene. In fact, the gallery, located on the premises of Fabrik e.V., could be seen as an alternative counter-design to the somewhat more conservative Kunstverein. Housed in a former factory hall, the showroom exudes a certain archaic aura, which at the same time underlines the alternative claim. Michael Mahla, who curates the exhibitions, himself likes to describe the Schauraum as a place where you can exhibit even without a diploma. Here, the talent is in the foreground and not the title! Quite a few successful artists started their careers with an exhibition in this small but fine “Forum for Art and Culture”, which has enriched Worms’ cultural landscape since 1993. In the meantime, these include renowned artists such as Buja alias René Burjack with his impressive street art. Buja’s work also adorns the entrance area of the Worms Kunstverein. There, a large-scale mural shows how you can experience art in a completely different way with the help of a smartphone. Simply photograph the mural and you will be surprised…

Quite a few of the artists who have exhibited in the showroom over the years also lived on the premises for a while, and there is more to discover here. In addition to the showroom, there are also occasional studios and, above all, flats. The factory was founded in 1979 as an alternative housing project.

Adresse: Zornstraße 11a, 67549 Worms
Web: https://galerie-schauraum.de/
Öffnungszeiten während der Ausstellungen: Sa und So: 19 Uhr bis 21 Uhr

Museum Heylshof

The Museum Heylshof – one of the leading art museums in Rhineland-Palatinate – houses the largest private art collection of the late 19th century preserved in its original state at its place of origin in Germany. The exquisite collection is complemented by the finest Frankenthal porcelain, glass, ceramics, stained glass and small sculptures as well as changing exhibitions of contemporary art.

Adresse: Stephansgasse 9, 67549 Worms
Telefon: 06241 22000
Link: https://www.heylshof.de/

Das Wormser Kulturzentrum (Ausstellungsfläche)

„Das Wormser” is the name of the municipal cultural and conference centre. What initially sounds like a grammatical stunt with the article “Das” is merely meant to indicate the diversity of this house, i.e. “Das Wormser Kulturzentrum, Tagungszentrum etc.”. In addition, the centre sees itself as a house for everyone and for everything. This means that not only conferences, concerts and theatre take place here, but that there is also space for art. What is important is the encounter with and mediation of art. Art from and about Worms is shown under the title “Art in the WORMSER”. Throughout the year, local and regional artists and organisers exhibit their work in the upper foyer of the new building. This means that 12 exhibitions a year take place here on a monthly basis, which are of course celebrated with corresponding vernissages. Admission to the exhibitions is free.

Adresse: Rathenaustraße 11, 67549 Worms
Telefon: 06241 2000450
Öffnungszeiten: Montag bis Freitag 10 Uhr bis 18 Uhr
Homepage: https://www.das-wormser.de/das-wormser/index.php

A special supporting program for special festivals

While the main programme of the festival belongs to the play alone, which this year goes by the name of “BRYNHILD” (see my text on this), there are always little gems of live music or theatre in the accompanying cultural programme that deserve to be noticed and attended. An unspoken tradition here is that artists who performed in the main play in previous years always return as part of the cultural programme, with the exception of the “Theatre Encounters”, which are entirely devoted to the current play.

Below I have briefly summarised the highlights for you this year:

Theatre Encounters on 9 July 2023 at 11 am in the Heylshof Park

It is the first event to take place in the cultural programme every first Sunday after the premiere in the fantastically beautiful ambience of the Heylshofpark Open Air on Sunday mornings. Moderated by the renowned film critic Rüdiger Suchsland, Intendant Nico Hofmann, the author and Artistic Director Thomas Laue will be on hand to answer questions. They will talk about the first reactions of the audience to the play, give exciting insights into the development process and reflect on the content and messages of the current play. The central question this year is “Who determines who we are?”.  This morning is livened up by live music, usually featuring musicians from the current production. For me personally, it is the most beautiful event in the festival environment, because on the one hand it provides exciting insights and on the other hand there are only a few opportunities to have culture presented in such a relaxed way on a Sunday morning.


„Offene Zweierbeziehung“

am 14. Juli – ein Theaterstück mit Alexandra Kamp und Miguel Abrantes Ostrowski im Lincoln Theater

Die Schauspielerin Alexandra Kamp kann man mittlerweile getrost als Dauergast in Worms bezeichnen. Im Hauptstück der Nibelungen-Festspiele trat sie zuletzt 2016 in dem von Albert Ostermaier verfassten Stück „Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen“ auf. Seitdem besuchte sie mit wechselnden Theaterstücken, wie der Theateradaption des Films „Eine verhängnisvolle Affähre“, die Nibelungenstadt. Im Kulturprogramm gastiert sie nun mit dem Zweipersonenstück „Offene Zweierbeziehung“ im Lincoln Theater. Die sympathische Schauspielerin spielt in dem Stück eine Frau, deren Ehe sich in der Krise befindet. Das Duo verspricht eine turbulente Komödie, die bereits von der Kritik vielfach gelobt wurde. 

“Widow’s Dramas”

on 15 July – a “Scenic Reading” with Katharina, Anna and Nellie Thalbach at the Worms Theatre

Probably not much needs to be said about the Thalbach family. After all, they are one of the leading acting dynasties in Germany. No less than three generations meet in this “staged reading” at the theatre in Worms. In his “Witwendrama”, the author Fitzgerald Kusz deals with the sensitivities of widows, and in doing so, he has put together his cheerful, ironic and sad thoughts to create widow dramas. Performed by the three great Thalbach women, the evening should be an entertaining theatrical treat.


Genija Rykova and band

on 18 July at the Worms Theatre

Last year, actress Genija Rykova slipped into the role of Brünhild and proved extraordinary qualities as the “water mermaid” in the face of the “water stage” at that time. In this one she returns to Worms to convince of her musical qualities. Together with her band, she presents songs by strong female artists of the 20th century such as Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and others under the title “A Woman’s World”.

Children’s Day

on 16 July in the Heylshof Park

Children’s theatre, enchanted creatures and lots of fun and games: the Children’s and Family Day invites you to join in the fun in the beautiful Heylshof Park at Worms Cathedral – there will be handicrafts, games and glitter tattoos. For the first time, the event will again take place without corona-related restrictions. Admission is free, no tickets need to be reserved in advance.

The admission prices, times and further information on the cultural programme can be found here:


Enjoying time in the Heylshof Park during the Nibelungen Festival

It’s as if you were suddenly in the midst of a different, fairytale world…that’s roughly how a visit during the festival to what is probably Germany’s most beautiful theatre foyer feels. To immerse yourself in this world in the evening, you don’t even need a theatre ticket, because “flâneurs” or pleasure-seekers also have access to the park. For this, however, you need a strolling ticket. At 4 euros, they are not necessarily cheap, but they make up for it with live music before the play and during the interval, as well as the stylish ambience, which is particularly effective in the dark, as the park is tastefully illuminated. There is also a wide selection and food and drink to match. My personal favourite place during this time is the wine lounge, where only Worms vintners offer their wines. This year, that means being able to choose between ten fine wines. The Heylshofpark opens at 5:30 pm and closes at 1 am. Those who want to enjoy a stylish dinner can also find what they are looking for in the Heylshofpark. Under the name “Dinner in the Park” there is a multi-course menu every evening from the exclusive festival caterer “Gauls Catering” from 6 pm.

Further information on strolling tickets, Dinner in the Park etc. can be found here: https://www.nibelungenfestspiele.de/nibelungenfestspiele/2020/Arrangements-Auswahlseite-2020-2021/index-2020-2021.php?navid=199481199481.

All photos are courtesy of the Nibelungen Festival – thank you!


Concentrated female power, bodybuilder dragons and a Stargate

What awaits the spectators at this year’s Nibelungen Festival and the play “BRYNHILD

When spring is in full bloom in Worms, it is also an unmistakable sign that the Nibelungen Festival in my hometown is preparing for the big premiere on July 7. As usual under artistic director Nico Hofmann, a world premiere will be brought to the stage on the north side of Worms Cathedral. “BRYNHILD” is the name and was written by the successful author Maria Milisavljević.

Incidentally, this is the first time in the 20-year history of the festival that a woman has had writing responsibility. This is interesting, because at the center of the Nibelungenlied are two strong characters who are met with violence from the male side. In recent years, the festival has repeatedly dealt with this key theme of the Nibelungen saga, but always from the inevitably male perspective of a male author. This is not wrong per se and has sometimes led to interesting contributions such as “Siegfried’s Heirs” by Feridun Zaimoglu and Gerhard Senkel. At that time, the author duo thought the story further and dealt with the question of what actually became of Brünhild after the Burgundians set out to join Kriemhild and Etzel and perished in a slaughter. The author Milisavljević also places Brühnhild at the center of the story. However, it travels all the way back to the beginning and makes use of Norse mythology, more specifically the songs Edda. There Brünhild is called Brynhild, lives as daughter of Odin and Frigga on Isenland.

Liederedda instead of Nibelungenlied

At a press briefing I held as part of my work for the WO! magazine, the author explained that in the Song of the Edda the story between Brynhild and Sigurd was a blank that she now wanted to fill. Sigurd, that’s Siegfried, and he’s a sword-wielding hothead, as in the Germanic version, who claims to have slain a dragon. But anyone expecting a mythologically charged love story between two powerful characters has of course missed out on the festival. Unlike such family-friendly festivals as those featuring Winnetou or Klaus Störtebeker, the Nibelungen in Worms feels more like the classic “Everyman,” doomed to repeatedly negotiate its own tragic fate. In Worms this summer, this means that director Pinar Karabulut not only wants to stage visually stunning open-air theater, but also asks questions. So she explained recently at the start of rehearsals on May 19: “What I find so exciting is how do I retell a story that is so entrenched in cultural memory?” Or is it so fixed that it keeps coming back like a nightmare?” Thus, Brynhild, the Icelandic daughter of the gods, finds herself caught in the dichotomy between tradition and self-empowerment. Karabulut on this: “As a woman, as a body read as female, can she break out of her role? Can she do it alone? Who is stronger: you or history?”

At the Festival’s press conference, I also had the opportunity to ask the lively, likeable director, who is currently one of the most sought-after theater makers in the German-speaking world, about her plans for the production:


Photo: @ Andreas Stumpf

WHERE! They stage in front of the Worms Cathedral. What does it mean to set such a stage?

I have actually only done one open air production so far. That was an opera. But that wasn’t nearly as big as it will be here in Worms. Nevertheless, my set designer Michela Flück and I were never afraid of the size of the stage. My first thought was, how can we make it to be able to insert things from the top of the image? Can we rent a crane? Then, however, we were told directly that we couldn’t do that. The question we ended up asking ourselves was, how can we find new ways to make this evening work.

WHERE! That is, in the theater you have the advantage of the equipment and here the challenge of nature?

Right. That’s the aspect I’m most looking forward to. I can only rely on the usual theater technique to a limited extent, since nature dictates the weather. So we have to direct the complete psychology of this evening differently That’s the challenge I’m looking forward to. The sheer size of the stage is just inviting me to do more on stage at the same time (laughs).

WHERE! In an interview, you spoke of wanting to subvert viewing habits in terms of staging. What does that mean exactly?

That’s actually one of my main driving points in my job. For me, art should be something insanely liberating, something that inspires people. For example, when I go to a museum and look at a painting, I want it to do something to me, and when I take it home in my mind, it transports me to another world before I sit down at my desk again. Again, I think it’s a pity that in German-speaking theater there are always narrative rules that must be followed at all costs. Accordingly, it is often the case that the audience already enters the theater with the expectation that the story will be told exactly as it is. But life is not like that. Life is much crazier. In part, we are much more well-behaved on the theater stages than actual life plays.

WHERE! Isn’t there also a danger that the audience will be overwhelmed by too much newness?

Yes, I am aware of that, and I know that there is a danger that viewers will close their minds.

You can read the full interview here: www.wo-magazin.de

What is new at this year’s festival is not only the creative female dual leadership of author and director, but also a thoroughly diverse approach that does not stop at a change of roles between the sexes. Thus, the Darth Vader of the Germanic vocal sagas, Hagen von Tronje, is transformed from a one-eyed grumpy family protector into a dark-skinned protagonist played by actress Ruby Commey. Sigurd is played by Bekim Latifi and Frigga, Odin’s wife, by the versatile artist Parisa Madani. The Togo-born actor Bless Amada once again takes on the role of Odin, the father of the Norse gods. So far, so colorful! While in the cinema the emancipation of diversity is currently not proceeding without criticism and box office losses, in the theater the reinterpretation of gender roles has long been a normality, even if in the case of “BRYNHILD” I must attest that it is certainly not an uninteresting experiment for the primarily rather conservative festival.

Who are the actors and actresses?

Parisa Madani comes from German-Persian parents and works today as a singer, actress and offers experimental dream meditations. Bless Amada, in turn, was born in Togo. When he was ten years old, his parents moved to Munich. There he completed his acting training at the renowned Otto Falckenberg School. In the last two years he starred in numerous TV series. The German-Albanian actor Bekim Latifi also studied in Munich. Latifi worked for many years at the Thalia Theater and currently plays for the Münchner Kammerspiele. Şafak Şengül from Mainz is at home on many stages and in 2020 also starred in the highly acclaimed feature film “Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush” by Andreas Dresen. Denmark’s Jens Albinus has a firm place in Scandinavian television crime. In recent years, he has appeared in series such as “Commissioner Lund”, “The Eagle” and “Borgen”. Also part of the cast is Laina Schwarz, who is also a welcome guest in TV crime dramas and most recently starred in the series “Marie Brand”, SOKO Wismar” and “Der Staatsanwalt”. As varied as the names of the series are their engagements on Germany’s theater stages. Simon Kirsch is a much sought-after theater actor who has shone in recent years on stages such as the Burgbühne in Vienna, the Schauspielhaus in Zurich and the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. Ruby Commey earned her good name mainly on Berlin stages. The dark-skinned actress became internationally known for the music video Deutschland, released by the band Rammstein in March 2019, in which she plays Germania. Lena Urzendowsky again appears in the title role of Brynhild. Urzendowsky makes her theater debut in Worms. The 23-year-old has already made a name for herself in front of the camera, starring in the much-discussed Amazon Prime series “Zoo,” based on the autobiography “Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo.” Also based in the 70s and also produced for Amazon, the Berliner also played an important role in the series “Lude”.

A special guest as a dragon

Actually, according to Intendant Hofmann, the ensemble should be the star, or as he explained it at the press conference, “We want to get away from the star-driven ensemble!” But you can’t quite keep your hands off prominent names in 2023 either. This year’s cast includes special guest bodybuilder Ralf Moeller (“Gladiator,” “Conan” series). A name that is out of the ordinary at first glance, but ultimately interesting. Moeller will not be live on stage, but he will contribute his experience in front of the camera, because Moeller’s scenes will be filmed in the Odenwald and later integrated into the play via a giant LED screen at the festival. The man with the impressive body proportions and permanent buddy of Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the dragon Fafnir (!) in the play “BRYNHILD”. What exactly this will look like, whether Moeller will crawl through the Odenwald made up as a dragon, only lend his voice or not be a dragon in the true sense of the word, this secret will of course only be revealed at the premiere.

Where there is a festival, there must also be a bit of spectacle

Although all those responsible always emphasize the artistic claim, this too must submit to the dictates of the summer spectacle, because the festival not only wants to invite intellectual debate, but also to a certain extent to overwhelm the audience. Basically, it needs only the view of the overpowering cathedral to overwhelm, but that alone is not enough to captivate over the three hours of the performance. Together, they reach deep into their bag of tricks to create a “neo-futuristic” world, as the director describes it. At a press briefing in the fall of 2022, director Karabulut talked about making the set purple. In fact, initial visualizations show a purple desert in front of a giant video screen that also acts like a portal. The characters on stage can pass through this Stargate er portal times, from ancient times to the future. Video artist and filmmaker Susanne Steinmassel will put this portal in perspective, but will also actively support Karabulut in shooting the cinematic scenes. The stage designer Michela Flück promises a novel world in front of the cathedral. One that unites the eras. “The cathedral seems like a hallucination in the dystopian world in which we set Brynhild’s life,” the Zurich-born set designer says of her work. “A timeless landscape surrounds Worms Cathedral: fragments of an ancient excavation site buried under sand, not a sea in sight,” she continues. A spectacle for the ears is promised by musician Daniel Murena, who together with Martin Tagar and Oliver Bersin will be responsible for the stage music, which will be played live for the performance. Murena is an exciting composer whose roots are in pop and rock, but also feels at home in the avant-garde. Together with classical composition approaches, filled with horror sound and industrial effects, the musician has already given several theater pieces the right sound since 2006 and should also conjure up an unusual musical garb in the night sky of Worms in the context of the festival.

After 20 years of the Nibelungen Festival, it is actually amazing how many facets can still be drawn from this 800-year-old story. This year, in addition to the female perspectives, it is also important to gather a young team in front of the Cathedral, combined with the hope of bringing the historical heritage of this great material to younger people. This can only be a good thing, because after all, the Nibelungen is also an object lesson in how greed, hatred, envy and, above all, power can lead everyone to their doom. I, for one, am looking forward to the piece “BRYNHILD.” The only thing missing is the right weather, but that’s usually free in Worms.

The festival will be held in the period from July 7 to July 23.

You can find more information about the festival here: https://www.nibelungenfestspiele.de/nibelungenfestspiele/

Stage design “BRYNHILD”, photo: @ Nibelungen Festival