10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art 9.6.–9.9.2018

Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

“Lady of War” – Center for Political Beauty

Posted on: Juni 18th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Lady of War

by Center for Political Beauty

Berlin, action in public space, thereafter on view at KW

In 2011 the Federal Security Council, under its chairwoman Angela Merkel, decided to approve a major arms deal: the sale of 270 Leopard 2 tanks to Saudi Arabia. German "high technology" is meant to be exported to a country, which is since March 2011 directly involved in the defeat of the Arab Spring, and has stationed thousands of soldiers and tanks to this day for "counterinsurgency" in the state of Bahrain. Despite several criminal charges, the puppet masters of this deal pretend to have done nothing wrong. They have a name and a face: the head of the company is described as a "patriarch" who, together with a bunch of confused owners (artists, teachers, photographers), cannot get enough of the profits. They are proud to expand their businesses and become richer and richer every year. But there is a sign of hope: this time, a line has been crossed. The commercial arms deal marks a turning point for their peaceful hiding place in Kassel. The red line, not to export to states that violate human rights, is crossed for greed. "Lady of War" documents the struggle and the fate of the owners of an armory.


by Philipp Ruch

Sign the petition to withdraw the Federal Cross of Merit from Manfred Bode (tank dealer from Kassel).

Video by Jacek Taszakowski and Rafał Żwirek

Report by ZDF

“Battle of Berlin 1945″ – a documentation

Posted on: Mai 31st, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Video by Jacek Taszakowski

Battle of Berlin '45

Filmed documentation of re-enactments

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, some European nations felt the need to reinvent their identities. This always starts with a process of rewriting history. Nation-states have initiated a politics of history that shapes past events in a new way, often through education programs or the erecting of museums and monuments. Through such a politics based on the past, the narrative of the future is constructed.

One such example can be found in Poland, in the phenomenon of "people’s theater", groups who perform/re-enact historical events—usually battles. Real enthusiasts—dressed in costume, with vintage weapons and other military paraphernalia—participate in these events. Such re-enactments have become very popular and are supported by local authorities.


Even if these spectacles pretend to present history in an objective way, they nevertheless incite very emotional reactions from the public. Try to imagine that you are standing next to soldiers shooting at each other, watching executions and bloody battles—but you are safe. And after the spectacle, you might have the chance to make a souvenir snapshot with a soldier in an SS uniform.


The 7th Berlin Biennale has invited a few such amateur groups to stage a re-enactment of the Battle of Berlin 1945. This spectacular battle depicts the defeat of the capital of the Third Reich in April and May 1945 and Berlin’s final surrender. It takes place in public spaces in Berlin and Warsaw, and is re-staged by members of re-enactment groups from Poland representing the Red Army, Polish 1st Army, and German forces. The same scenario is performed in both cities and addressed to the broad public. Before the re-enactments take place, a trailer announcing the events can be seen in Deutschlandhaus; after the battles take place documentation of them is presented there. The re-enactments raise questions about the mechanisms of constructing the narrations of national identity of the two neighboring countries.


by Artur Żmijewski and Igor Stokfiszewski



“Battle of Berlin ’45″ is a collaboration in solidarity with the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw. More >



Stresemannstrasse 90, D-10963 BerlinMore >


“Lebanese Flag” by Youseef, Ibrahim and Moussa Bassal

Posted on: Mai 31st, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Photo: Marta Gornicka

Lebanese Flag by Youseef, Ibrahim and Moussa Bassal

In cooperation with Lou Cantor

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Germany the Arab and Turkish population showed unprecedented support for the national soccer team by putting German flags on their cars, installing them at their home windows and in their businesses. The display of patriotic feelings was welcomed by the German government as a sign of "positive integration", while several anarchist magazines were denouncing these flags as "black, red, and gold rags". Some "anarchist commandos" even raided Arab and Turkish businesses in Berlin, either ripping down or burning the German flags.


Youssef Bassal, a German of Lebanese origin and owner of a mobile phone shop in the Berlin district of Neukölln, came with an idea of placing a huge tricolor as a sign of support for national eleven. Together with his brother Moussa, he hung a 25-meter long flag on the facade of their shop during the World Cup. The use of the German flag by Bassals, highly present in the media in 2010, was embraced by all spectrums of political discourses: by the mainstream politicians as a symbol of Germany as an immigrant country and its multiculturalism, by the angry radical left-wing as a encouragement for the national tendencies, by some parts of the Muslim population as a dubious conciliatory gesture, and finally by some right-wing Berliners who saw the flag as an appropriation of their symbol by others.


As the cultural and football events came together for UEFA's 2012 Europe Cup (with Kiev throwing its first international biennale in matching dates and Warsaw's MoMA presenting "New National Art" - an exhibition dedicated to off-art world artists displaying various aspects of patriotism), Lou Cantor invited Bassals for a cooperation. The reason for this was not only the symbolic potential of the events connected to the flag but also support for the attitude presented by Bassals, manifested by standing up to all consequences of artistic or political gesture.

More in Deutschlandhaus

“Lebanese Flag” by Youseef, Ibrahim and Moussa Bassal

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Germany the Arab and Turkish population showed unprecedented support for the national soccer team by putting German flags on their cars, installing... More >
“Lebanese Flag” by Youseef, Ibrahim and Moussa Bassal

Deutschlandhaus as Venue

Metaphorically speaking, Deutschlandhaus seems to be a container of repressed or excluded German memory. More >
Deutschlandhaus as Venue


Posted on: Mai 23rd, 2012 by Marta Gornicka


Demonstration on June 2, from 3 to 5 pm

The images were taken by Franziska Zahl and Artur Żmijewski in June 2011 and February 2012.

The citizen’s initiative Perspektive Berlin was established in West Berlin in 1988 in order to erect a memorial in Germany to the Jews murdered during the Holocaust. After the fall of the Wall the initiative started to be supported by the German government, and at the same time it changed its name to the Association for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. In 1999, parallel to the Association, the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was established, with the mission to build memorials to the other victims of the Nazi regime—homosexuals and the Roma and Sinti. Up to now the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Murdered under the National Socialist Regime still has not been built; it is an unfinished construction site in the Tiergarten between Brandenburger Tor and the Reichstag. Its construction only began in 2008 and was soon stopped because of conflict between Dani Karavan, the memorial’s designer, and the Berlin authority. The unfinished memorial was closed off by a fence and effectively forgotten.


by Artur Żmijewski and Zofia Waślicka


A Civil Initiative led by The Romani Elders and coordinated by the European Roma Cultural Foundation – ERCF advocates for the completion of the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Murdered under the National Socialist Regime. ERCF is committed to generating a wide network of Roma and non-Roma organizations and individuals throughout Europe and is collecting their signatures to put pressure on all participants—including the political sphere, the official authorities, the construction team, and the artist—for the continuation of the building process. The Roma community points to the urgent need to finally finish the memorial in order to celebrate in dignity the inauguration together with the handful of survivors and their families.


On June 2, 2012 The Romani Elders and representatives of the younger generation of Roma activism assemble to make their public statements in front of the Memorial. The Initiative aims to carve the memory of the Sinti and Roma victims into European collective memory.


ERCF also curates a comprehensive archive, which builds on the achievements of The Romani Elders, who spent a lifetime in Romani activism. We feel that the knowledge, experience, and work of the Roma community’s Elders are not explored or collected. ERCF and the new generation of Roma intellectuals wishes to give their role models the attention and respect they deserve—to ensure that their achievements will never be neglected or forgotten, and that their wisdom is re-invested in our societies.


by Tímea Junghaus


Visit www.theromanielders.org, and join the Initiative of The Romani Elders and ERCF with your signature!


Call for Unity!

Join the initiative of ‘The Romani Elders’ and ERCF with your signature! In the framework of the 7th Berlin Biennale a Civil Initiative, led by The Romani Elders and coordinated by the European Roma Cultural Foundation advocates for the completion of the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma murdered under the National Socialist Regime. [...]More >


Ceremony and Reception in Honor of The Romani Elders

Guests: Ágnes Daróczi, Romani Rose, Hans Caldaras, Nicolae Gheorghe. [...]More >


“Sunray” – a project by Paweł Althamer

Posted on: Mai 23rd, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Video by Jacek Taszakowski and Rafał Żwirek


A project by Paweł Althamer

In Minsk, capital of Belarus, a random encounter with a few friends on the street can be considered as an illegal assembly. In Minsk, you can end up in prison for clapping your hands on the street. In Minsk, the government wants to control everything. Yet, more than 150 people in golden suits walked two miles to welcome the sun. These people have freed themselves from their fears and walked towards the hope for a better future.


On the foreday of the march the bands Amaroka, Paprika Korps and NRM gave concerts. The last band played a song especially written for the project "Sunray."


by Igor Znyk


Photos by Tomek Kaczor

Video by Jacek Taszakowski


It seems that winter will forever

Remain in our city

It seems the sun will never warm us

Forever, another month

This mud, this cold and this wind

Probably the sun will never warm us

Probably never


The disc of the sun is smoldering like coal

The sky is red

Through the gloomy morning we can see the day

The ray, we're waiting for the first ray


Through the dim morning - a ray, we're waiting


The morning gapes like a wound

In the squares, in the streets

Do you remember how warm it was from the sun?

I know.


The disc of the sun is smoldering like coal

The sky is red

Through the gloomy morning we can see the day

The ray, we're waiting for the first ray


Through the dim morning - a ray, we're waiting


It seems that winter will forever

Remain in our city, in our hearts


The disc of the sun is smoldering like coal

The sky is red

Through the gloomy morning we can see the day

The ray, we're waiting for the first ray


Through the dim morning - a ray, we're waiting

“New World Summit” – a congress with Jonas Staal

Posted on: Mai 8th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka



The New World Summit is an alternative parliament for political and juridical representatives of organizations currently placed on international terrorist lists. The nontransparent procedures by which these lists are created are considered a threat to democratic politics by numerous political parties, human rights organizations, lawyers, and philosophers. Often political prejudices, diplomatic relations, and economic or military interests play a decisive role in labeling an organization as a "terrorist group."


The parliament of the New World Summit forms a democratic supplement to the existing political order. The event questions those politics that are based on exclusion and deny any form of true political participation to those groups that have been listed. The New World Summit aims to articulate a new kind of public political space where representatives of the organizations debate the limits of the current democratic system. The referents who are participating in the summit are not prosecuted, but see themselves as agents of fundamental democratic principles. The event itself is based on a notion of fundamental democracy pursuing the ideal of an open, egalitarian society.


by Jonas Staal


The New World Summit is a project by Rotterdam-based artist Jonas Staal in collaboration with Younes Bouadi (producer), Robert Kluijver (curator), Paul Kuipers (architect), Vincent W. J. van Gerven Oei (editor), and Sjoerd Oudman/the NWS Design Collective (design).


Please visit also www.newworldsummit.eu.

You can download the speakers list of the "New World Summit" here.

Photos: Lidia Rossner

“Art in defense of democracy” by Jonas Staal

The struggle of art in the twentieth century is characterized by an aspiration for freedom. It has battled the church, the state and the wealthy bourgeoisie in order to no longer have to serve a religious, political or economic agenda. [...]More >


“Peace Wall” by Nada Prlja

Posted on: Mai 4th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Peace Wall

By Nada Prlja

A wall is standing on Friedrichstrasse. Finally, we are on a way to establish peace.

Photos by Michaela Filla, Marta Gornicka, Nada Prlja, Lidia Rossner and Artur Żmijewski.

At the southern end of Friedrichstrasse in Berlin­ Kreuzberg, London-based artist Nada Prlja erects a "peace wall." Despite its immediate associations in a formerly divided city, her project doesn’t re­ fer to the historical Berlin Wall, but to the social segregation present in this area today. Friedrich­strasse is a major shopping street and north-south axis, which runs from Torstrasse in Mitte to Hallesches Tor in Kreuzberg; before 1989 it was also bisected by the Wall. Today a large part of the street is filled with posh boutiques and fancy res­taurants, but at its southern end this gives way to a "problem" neighborhood with social housing proj­ects (once located on the periphery of West Berlin), high unemployment rates, and a population with up to 70 percent migration backgrounds. This "in­ visible" partition, which exists today in the middle of the city, is marked by the construction of Prlja’s wall. It visualizes social and economic inequali­ ties, the existence of "parallel societies" in the city, and the positions of the advantaged and under­ privileged. Perhaps it is no surprise that the pro­ cess of getting permission to erect this work was blocked by different interest groups and communi­ ty members, including school authorities and private and public bodies.


The very location of Prlja’s wall represents the space where certain communities lose their ability to influence the decision-making process, and makes concrete the necessity to fight for their rights. It is also a place where one of the anti-gentrification battles in the city failed. The barrier’s many references include Northern Ireland’s policy of building "peace lines" to prevent conflict between the Republican and Loyalist factions, the current wall building operations in cyprus or the West bank, as well as the phenomenon of gated communities, which have sprung up all over the world to segregate the wealthy from the poor. With this wall, Prlja points to the realities of the existing and growing economic and social segregation lurking around the corner.


by Joanna Warsza and Artur Żmijewski

Nada Prlja is an artist whose work focuses on public art. Born in Sarajevo, she lives in London since 1998 and has Macedonian passport.


Reflections on the “Peace Wall” by Nada Prlja

With this essay, I aim to reflect on some of the issues that have arisen through the project “Peace Wall” and have shaped my opinion about how to work... More >
Reflections on the “Peace Wall” by Nada Prlja


Originally, the artwork was planned to be dismantled after the end of the 7th Berlin Biennale on July 1, 2012. More >

Art divides opinions

A comment on Nada Prlja's »Peace Wall.« More >
Art divides opinions

“Peace Wall” by Nada Prlja

A video by Lidia Rossner. More >
“Peace Wall” by Nada Prlja

“Peace Wall” by Nada Prlja

A wall is standing on Friedrichstraße. Finally, we are on a way to establish peace. More >
“Peace Wall” by Nada Prlja

Remembering Piece by Piece. First objects for the future exhibition

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Winter coat, wool, fur trim; 1941; Gift from Dorette Poland


Family´s Weißhuhn from Gloß-Glockersdorf by Troppau guestbook; machine-made paper, calf, 1922–1946; purchase

Remembering Piece by Piece. First objects for the future exhibition

Project in collaboration with Stiftung Flucht, Vertreibung, Versöhnung (SFVV) (Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation)


During and after the Second World War, millions of Germans fled from the territories occupied by German forces in Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe as well as from formerly ethnic-German areas and zones of mixed population. Also affected were territories in which Nazi Germany expelled the local populations and resettled Germans. Some escaped from these areas, and some were forced to move. In the German politics of history this displacement is called "Flucht und Vertreibung" (flight and expulsion) and the people are "Vertriebene" (expellees).


The topic has been very sensitive in the European context since Germany introduced it. The idea of building a center in Berlin commemorating these displacements has stirred up a heated debate about historical revisionism, the danger of decontextualizing the past, and questions of cultivating national narratives. After many historical and political discussions, on a resolution of the German Bundestag, the Stiftung Flucht, Vertreibung, Versöhnung (SFVV) (Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation) was established in 2008. In 2016 a center for exhibitions, documentation, and information will open in Berlin.


The site of this center will be the completely rebuilt Deutschlandhaus. It is located near the former Anhalter Bahnhof and a number of memorials such as the Topographie des Terrors (Topography of Terror), as well as fragments of the Berlin Wall. Questions of the politics of history, strategies of commemoration, constructing the future through interpretations of the past, and attempts to introduce counter-narrations are important issues within the 7th Berlin Biennale. Therefore we invited the curatorial team of the Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation to present a project. They are displaying items from their collection of belongings donated by Germans who left the land where they were living (or by their descendants).


The "use" of history is able to shape the future and influence the discourse on German identity. We do not want to observe this process from a safe distance; we prefer to be close to it.


by Artur Żmijewski, Joanna Warsza and Zofia Waślicka



The building today known as Deutschlandhaus was built in 1926 as the eastern wing of the adjacent Europahaus. More >



Stresemannstrasse 90, D-10963 BerlinMore >


“Rebranding European Muslims” by Public Movement

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Rebranding European Muslims

By Public Movement


Rebranding European Muslims is an international public relations campaign by performance and research group Public Movement, which aims to change the image of the European Muslim population. It takes the declaration by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that "multiculturalism has failed, completely failed" as a chance to begin a

new chapter in European / Muslim relations. The strategy of the project is to understand Merkel’s statement in a positive light, using this as an opportunity to end the reliance on "multiculti" and to consider that all people are responsible for the failure.


Rebranding European Muslims uses the tools of political branding campaigns to reimagine a new entity empowered by using mass communication tactics. In order to fulfill its own dream, Europe, as a post war progressive construction, must confront the challenge of accepting its historical enemy as part of it. The campaign proposes a new European Muslim entity, which is not exclusive to Muslims but symbolizes a new era where the conversation about European/Muslim shifts beyond the exhausted concept of liberal tolerance. It accepts mutations and new acculturation, and ultimately extends the scope of political imagination. Hopefully for the better.


by Daniel Miller and Dana Yahalomi


Rebranding European Muslims is a collaboration in solidarity with the 7th Berlin Biennale by steirischer herbst. The upcoming campaign is announced by a billboard presenting a portrait of the anonymous Muslim, which is on view during the Berlin Biennale, and launches in Graz on September 28, 2012 with a grand gala. It will subsequently spread to other European countries.

Solidarity Action #6: steirischer herbst

“Rebranding European Muslims” is a transnational public relations project by the Israel-based performance and research group Public Movement, and a collaboration in solidarity with the 7th Berlin Biennale by steirischer herbst. The campaign is announced by a billboard in Berlin and launches in Graz [...]More >


“Blood ties” by Antanas Mockus

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Video by Lidia Rossner

Call for blood donation

Blood ties

by Antanas Mockus

The 7th Berlin Biennale invited the former mayor of Bogotá, Antanas Mockus, to comment on one of the projects. Mockus, a political thinker and now, an artist, chose to refer to Teresa Margolles’s work on the current drug war in Mexico, where gangs and paramilitary groups kill each other, murdering many other unrelated civilians in the process. Gangs fight for incredible profits made on the black market for drugs in the United States and Europe. Mockus asks Biennale visitors to commit to not using drugs anymore or to reducing their consumption. You can sign a declaration, and if you want to go deeper, you can also contribute one drop of blood. A large number of such promises could in fact lead to a reduction in the number of murders in Mexico. Mockus’s installation aims at changing the Mexican reality and asks people to take responsibility for how much drug consumption in Europe relates to the number of deaths in the narco-trafficking wars in Central America.


Who is Antanas Mockus? A former mayor of Bogotá, who employed what he called "sub-art" in his political practice. In Colombia in the mid-1990s—a period of hostility, bloodshed, and narco-trafficking—he created a nonviolent, performative politics of images and gestures. Inspired by his mother Nijole Sivickas, a Lithuanian sculptor, he later employed subversiveness, irony, and unpredictability as tools for direct politics. His program of citizen culture (Cultura ciudadana), a form of civic self-education based on games and staged situations, led to a significant drop in the homicide rate during his two terms as mayor. With this approach he effectively suspended politics as usual, destabilizing rational discourse, disarming hate speech, and subverting bureaucratic rule. Mockus has promised that if the homicide rate in Mexico does not drop during the exhibition, he will declare himself a failed artist and art a pretentious concept.


by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza


Antanas Mockus is a philosopher and politician whose approach to politics is based on artistic strategies. In the framework of the 7th Berlin Biennale he also presents a lecture-performance about political suicide based on his own experience in the last political campaign in Colombia.



“PM 2010″ by Teresa Margolles

Artist Teresa Margolles collects, as a yearbook, the front pages of the Mexican daily tabloid PM, published in Ciudad Juárez, one of the most dangerous border cities in Mexico. The newspaper is not available on the Internet and is only on sale in the city from Monday to Saturday at 1 pm. [...]More >


“Am I a good artist?” by Antanas Mockus

Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogotá, examines the result of his art installation in the Berlin Biennale and talks about using art strategies in his political practice. [...]More >

9th Berlin Biennale