Ingeborg Princess zu Schleswig-Holstein was born on 9 July 1956 in Bienebeck close to the northern German city of Kiel. The vast expanses of countryside and the closeness to the sea shaped her visual and artistic awareness from a very early age onwards. After graduating from the public school Stiftung Louisenlund, Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein studied art with Professor Manfried Grossmann at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung in Hamburg and graduated in 1981.
Attending the opening of the Joseph Beuys-Andy Warhol exhibition »Kunst = Kapital« (Art Equals Capital) in Dusseldorf she met Andy Warhol who invited her to become his artistic assistant in the Factory. »That particular era was marked by conflicts between the European and the American approach to culture and art, especially my culture«, remembers Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein now. »This conflict proved to be a formative one. While Warhol was concentrating on the emphasis of the surface of things I was beginning to show what is elusive, what cannot be put into words and exists beyond the visible.« In New York, Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein later opened her first studio in SoHo and embarked on her career as a painter. Slowly, her own style was emerging: »My work is object-free because it tells of an existence beyond that which can be experienced physically. « Exhibitions: 1983 Institute for Art and Urban Resources PS1 in New York, the Barclay Gallery, Southampton and the Hamburg-based Elisabeth Lindemann Galerie.
In 1984 Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein began work on the cycle of images called »Weg ins Licht« (Way into the Light) for Hamburg´s main church Sankt Katharinen. It was to be the first project of Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holsteins which involved space. »The use of forms and the symbolism of the colors were chosen to symbolize the worldliness of this side of life and the reality of God from the darkness to the light or from matter to transcendence.« It took two years until 1986 to create 24 horizontal tableaux and 12 rosettes for the clerestory of the nave where former blind windows would now once again reflect the original path of the light and direct the gaze upwards. As a permanent loan, the installation »Weg ins Licht« has since become an integral part of this gothic church. Exhibitions: Arlington Gallery in Santa Barbara, California, Evangelische Akademie in Hamburg and once again at the Institute for Art and Urban Resources PS1 in New York. 1985 New York Light Gallery. Galerie Winter and the Evangelische Akademie, both based in Hamburg.
The Hamburg-based entrepreneur Nikolaus Broschek had earlier commissioned the Polish composer Augustyn Bloch to write a chamber music piece for the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival but when Bloch chanced upon her installation at Sankt Katharinen, he was so inspired by Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein´s cycle of images that he wrote the religious oratorio »Denn Dein Licht kommt« (And Your Light Cometh). In 1988, under the auspices of the Schleswig Holstein Musikfestival and with the cooperation of the regional broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk the music piece premiered in Sankt Katharinen. Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein explains: »The way I hear music is in color while for Augustyn, colors have their own sound.« How congenial the harmonies of musical rhythm and visual chromaticism were, became obvious when not only a Hamburg audience reacted enthusiastically. At the Warsaw Cathedral in 1989 and at Breslau´s Marienkirche in 1990 the oratorio was equally well received. Exhibitions followed in 1987 in Lubeck´s Bugenhagenkirche and in the Hamburg-based Galerie Marion Moffat. In the same year, Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein became involved in the project »Kunstbahn« in Hamburg.
As a result of the cooperation with Augustyn Bloch, Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein visited Poland several times. In 1989, one such visit entailed the concentration camp of Auschwitz. On this trip, Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein was accompanied by her future husband Nikolaus Broschek. One day later, Augustyn Bloch took her to Warsaw´s church Sankt Stanislaw Kosta to see the grave of the Polish priest Jerzy Popielusko, a victim of the Polish secret police who assassinated him in 1984 because of the social political contents of his sermons. »It is not enough«, realized Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein then and there, »to look at such incidents in consternation. Such horror needs to translate into action.« Nikolaus Broschek commissioned both artists to co-write a requiem for the murdered priest their second collaboration. Working with a quote by Jerzy Popielusko, »Today, the sign of the Holy Cross is symbolic of the most beautiful and precious within mankind because it is the way to resurrection«, Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein started on a new room installation. Between 1989 and 1992 and parallel to the music Augustyn Bloch was writing she would create a meditation on the Holy Cross consisting of 12 gold, black and blue crosses measuring three by four meters each.
The requiem was entitled »Du sollst nicht töten« (Thou Shalt Not Kill). As a composition of music and images, it premiered in 1992 in the Church of Sankt Petri, Lubeck under the auspices of the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival. Exhibitions: 1989 World Economic Forum in Davos, at the broadcaster Sender Freies Berlin, Berlin and at the Lubeck Cathedral, Lubeck. 1990: Galerie im Schloss, Arolsen. In 1991 her work was shown at the Wratislava Cantans Festival in Breslau and at the Kunstverein Bremerhaven.
In the summer of 1993, Hamburg was host to the »Mediale« where Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein presented her third commissioned room installation: »Raum der Stille« (Room of Silence). A soundproof room in deep blue, acting as a counterpole and anthithesis to the noisy, hectic and somewhat in-yourface nature of the overall exhibition. »The vistiors experience so much and so quickly«, she explained her installation, »yet tend to be quite passive. The opposite occurs in the »Raum der Stille« where people are encouraged to rediscover themselves. The viewer sees himself as the medium for his spiritual experiences.«
The same year another unique collaboration between Bloch and Schleswig-Holstein was taking place. Back in Warsaw, Bloch was composing »Empor« (Upwards) while simultaneously, in Hamburg a triptych measuring 24 x 7 meters was painted, just about large enough to provide the backdrop for a seated orchestra. »Empor« premiered during the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival in the Deutsche Haus in Flensburg, performed by the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonie. »How to deal with death, over-coming death are the vital topics of my work«, is how Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein explains her impressive painting. In fact, all of her installations deal with the same topic, the issue of »what comes after, what lies beyond and ahead, what is the reality behind the reality which we are experiencing through objects and things.« Exhibitions: Casavanti Art,Wiesbaden. 1994 Guardini Stiftung, Kloster Zangenberg and a moving exhibition at the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival. »Du sollst nicht töten« at »Autumn in Warsaw« and in Gdansk. Children in Crisis charity, Förderkreis der Kunsthalle Bielefeld e.V. and Kunstverein Hamburg. »Neue Arbeiten 1989-1994« at the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival.
In 1995, her son Alexis was born and Ingeborg zu Schleswig- Holstein began experimenting with the color red. »Red is the color of life«, she says, »it is an extrovert and alive color. Resurrection is also something I associate with this color.« In 1996: exhibition at Neues Museum in Salem and the Galerie Wintergarten in Hamburg.
When the Polish city of Gdansk commemorated its 1000th anniversary in 1997, they commissioned her to create 24 paintings in radiant shades of red and blue and Augustyn Bloch to contribute the oratorio Ein »Gebet für Danzig« (A Prayer for Gdansk). This particular project was a highly sensitive one, not just from an artistic point of view. Back in 1939, the German warship by the name of Schleswig Holstein had fired upon the Westerplatte, an act that triggered WWII. »It seemed so amazing to me that the Polish people would accept a German/Polish cooperation at such a sensitive historic date«, emphasizes Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein. »It turned the commission it into an obligation to get it right.« Exhibitions: 1997 Galerie Gmurzynska in Cologne. »Rot und Blau« (Red And Blue) in Gütersloh. »Farben, Gold und Geometrie« (Colors, Gold and Geometry) at the Kunsthaus Boskamp, Hohenlockstedt. »Ein Gebet für Danzig«, a composition of image and sound in collaboration with Augustyn Bloch, was performed at the Sankt Marienkirche in Gdansk.
In 1999, Hamburg´s longest-standing old people´s home commissioned Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein to refurbish their chancel which resulted in a large triptych altarpiece, an altartable and a desk. The same year saw the creation of the cycle of images »Blaue Blume« (Blue Flower), a project that is exceptional also because it bears a name which Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein normally tends to avoid. »It is not my intention to push the viewer into a certain direction. Instead, I want him to be free enough to comprehend my work of art on an individual scale. « Exhibitions: »Blaue Blume« at Sotheby´s in Hamburg. Hospital zum Heiligen Geist, also in Hamburg. 2000 she showed »Neue Bilder« (New Images) at the Museum Schloss Reinbek in Reinbek, »Papierarbeiten« (Works on Paper) at the Hospital zum Heiligen Geist in Hamburg and once more »Neue Bilder« at Sotheby´s in Munich. She was also commissioned to create a meditation space in Colorado and designed paintings for the interior of the gourmet restaurant »Margaux« in Berlin.
In the summer academy at Watermill on Long Island 2001 Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein met up with director Robert Wilson and choreographer Andy DeGroat to stage the opera »Daphne´s et Alcimadure« by Mondonville. »Watermill is a mix between a happening and a learning experience«, characterizes Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein the academy. »Many young artists from diverse backgrounds work together on projects, choreographies, stage sets. It´s just great and an amazing experience.« It also marked the first stage set she designed together with Robert Wilson.
Exhibitions: solo show at Schleswig Holsteinisches Landesmuseum Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig and a work-in-progress at BBDO, Berlin. A triptych for »Meine Toten schweigen tief« (My Dead are Deeply Silent) with a concert performance and reading at Schleswig Holstein Musikfestival, Lubeck.
In early 2002 Ingeborg zu Schleswig-Holstein is working exclusively on the Majorcan chapel of Sa Barrala for which she is designing an altar, a cross and is painting the walls. This period is followed by yet another intensively productive summer academy with Robert Wilson and their work on an installation entitled »The Woman Who Was«. In the same year, Ingeborg zu Schleswig- Holstein exhibited her work at the Hohenloher Kunstverein, Langenburg and showed images from »Ein Gebet für Danzig« at the church of Sankt Nicolai in Eckernförde. The design of the chapel Sa Barrala, Majorca,was completely her own.