Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Filtered by Eisenhüttenstadt

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Eisenhüttenstadt, Photo: Sandra Teigte

Filtered by Eisenhüttenstadt


It’s easy to offer culture to people in Berlin, where there are always some visitors who will come to see the show—even if it is extremely difficult, or extremely strange. But what about "forgotten" cities like Eisenhüttenstadt? Will people there also come to see art?


Eisenhüttenstadt is a small city, 120 kilometers away from Berlin, in eastern Brandenburg. It came into existence in 1950 as "Stalinstadt," a socialist model city in the GDR, and many of its inhabitants were employed at the nearby steel mill (which today belongs to ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel company). Since West Germany absorbed the GDR, the city has been shrinking—after reunification about 20,000 people left. Eisenhüttenstadt doesn’t seem to be a beneficiary of the German transformation. The center of the city is spectacular—with its restored Socialist Realist buildings, open and sunny public squares, and broad avenues—albeit a little deserted. And cultural offerings are limited.


The idea of the project is to open a space in the center of Eisenhüttenstadt and conduct cultural activities there. The program is developed by two Berlin-based art spaces—Artists-in-Berlin-Program/DAAD and me Collectors Room Berlin/Olbricht Foundation—who are challenged to be "filtered," questioned, and present in Eisenhüttenstadt through organizing programming in the city. The idea is to act and try to understand the citizens, their real needs, and the situation in the city. What might this bring, if anything, to the residents? And how will it force the Berlin institutions to re-evaluate their own institutional positions?

by Artur Żmijewski


Draftsmen’s Congress in Eisenhüttenstadt

After the closure of the St. Elisabeth-Church, the “Draftsmen’s Congress” moved to Eisenhüttenstadt, in the Strasse der Republik 37. More >


Change of Perspective

me Collectors Room Berlin/Olbricht Foundation


Some fifth graders from the Gustav Falke School in Berlin exchange views with students of the same age from Schönfliesser School in Eisenhüttenstadt on remarkable places and noteworthy pieces of art in their respective cities.


The Berlin students send an object from me Collectors Room’s Wunderkammer in Berlin to Eisenhüttenstadt, and in exchange they receive a cultural artifact from Eisenhüttenstadt. How will these "uprooted" curiosities get adapted to their new surroundings?


Thus begins the search for new settings, an ingenious story, and an exciting analogy of form and materials, which is documented photographically by Jana Ebert (Berlin) and Ben Kaden (Eisenhüttenstadt). The project offers the students the unique opportunity to share their experiences, discoveries, knowledge, and thoughts about art and culture in a creative and thought-provoking context. In the end, they compile their newly acquired "change of perspective" in a photo-text-book and present it to the public.


by Charlotte Esser


The Gustav Falke School has been a partner school of the me Collectors Room Berlin/Olbricht Foundation since 2010.


Satellite Residency in Eisenhüttenstadt


From May to July 2012 the Artists-in-Berlin-Program establishes a Satellite Residency in Eisenhüttenstadt—consisting of an apartment and a studio which can also be used as an event space. International guests currently participating in the Artists-in-Berlin-Program as well as former guests are invited to spend a few days or weeks in Eisenhüttenstadt and work there. There are no requirements connected to this stay. The artists are free to use the city as a retreat, to engage with the architecture of this socialist planned city or, for example, to explore the Lubusz "Voivodeship" (district) beyond the river Oder in Poland. In the course of the project, a common public event takes place in Eisenhüttenstadt. Furthermore, the artists can develop their own methods to approach the local public (with the support of local partners). Meetings are planned with interested people from Eisenhüttenstadt, i.e. historians, politicians, teachers, journalists, people engaged in the cultural sector, or employees of the steel factory that still strongly affects the city.


by Ariane Beyn





“Final Fantasies” by Joanna Rajkowska

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Photo: Anna Eckold

Final Fantasies


There is an important question for everyone whose life is about to end: "How would you like to die?" This question embraces a condition of the body, a location, and a presence / absence of other people. People in hospices are not always given the chance to die as they wish. Despite the very best efforts, often there is no "machinery," no logistics, and no skills to provide them with the desirable surroundings of death. But it could happen—via art and artists. I would like to work with people who are about to die, trying to create an environment which they imagine as ideal for their deaths. I suppose the work might range from travelling to places wellremembered by the dying people in order to film the locations, to making it possible for people to die in water, in a forest, or in a particular town in Germany, to painting a designated room in a particular color.


The social energy cumulating in activities of art institutions and galleries, flowing through nonprofit or artist-run organizations, is addressed, naturally, to the living. The sick and the dying are separated from the mainstream of life due to their disease, weakness, and a psychological barrier. We don’t know how to behave knowing that the person we face will die within a certain time and knowing that she/he knows it as well. There is no social script for such a situation. So the exclusion is double—caused by the natural need of daily, intensive care and by society’s fear of death that these people inevitably represent. The basic aim of the community and therefore society, however, is to take care of those who are invisible. This is where politics comes down to its major and irreducible duty. Still, dividing lines separate sick and disabled bodies from the healthy population. So goes the mental segregation. So goes art and artists.


The project Final Fantasies proposes, on one hand, to focus artists on this invisible part of society, and on the other, at an inclusion of the sick and dying into the spectrum of the audience. And this is the best audience indeed, as in the face of an upcoming end, huge areas of life seem to lose their value. What remains is a need to embrace and to express the most important matters. Art that floods the galleries and museums can, with careful and intelligent insight, serve as a passage and existential instrument for the last, or at least a difficult, chapter of life.

by Joanna Rajkowska

Joanna Rajkowska is an artist and member of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique). She lives and works in Warsaw, London, and now Berlin.

“Born in Berlin” by Joanna Rajkowska

I decided to give birth to my daughter Rosa in the Charité hospital in Berlin. The city was her first location for contact with the world. For the rest of her life, when asked: “Where were you born?”, she will answer: “In Berlin”. [...]More >


Akademie der Künste

Pariser Platz 4, D-10117 BerlinMore >


“Born in Berlin” by Joanna Rajkowska

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

A scene from the movie “Born in Berlin“ by Joanna Rajkowska


"Born in Berlin - Red Rage“; 2012; © Joanna Rajkowska

Born in Berlin

By Joanna Rajkowska


I decided to give birth to my daughter Rosa in the Charité hospital in Berlin. The city was her first location for contact with the world. For the rest of her life, when asked: “Where were you born?", she will answer: “In Berlin."


I believe that the place of birth has a significant influence over each human being’s fate and their attitude toward it. You return to it like an animal; you think about it in a special way. Rosa will associate Berlin with a life-giving beginning, even though she is not going to remember it. The first breath she drew, the first sounds she produced, her first struggle to overcome an infection—they will always and forever be tied to the city, and nothing will ever change that fact.


Berlin is a special state of mind. It is a city which cannot bear its history, which does all it can to live exclusively in the present, to delight in itself in the incomparable Berlin air and style.


Berlin refuses to be naked, to expose its wounds or its painful side after the years of war, post-war trauma, and the division of the city. It desires to be an important cultural capital, elegant, cold, and modern. To achieve that it uses architecture, art, and sophisticated designs. It is becoming overgrown with fantastic buildings; it displays outstanding artists and presents remarkably attractive designs. Simultaneously, alternative art scenes are continually appearing, which is only a counterpoint to its smooth surface.


If this was the only face of Berlin, it would not be the place for Rosa. However, all my senses tell me that Berlin is unable to deal with itself. Like a middle-aged man, good-looking, well-dressed, but at the same time worn out after years of suffering from a chronic disease that climaxed years back. Exhausted not only by what it has been through, but also with the attempts to verbalize it, the lack of language, the following complications, and the amount of painkillers it needs to take daily. The disease has left wrinkles and bumps. Some parts of its body are totally dead.


Here begins my strong, tough, and unambiguous relationship with the city. I want to see those dead places, I want to touch them. I want Rosa to appear there. Rosa is my response to Berlin. And a gift.

by Joanna Rajkowska

“Final Fantasies” by Joanna Rajkowska

There is an important question for everyone whose life is about to end: “How would you like to die?” More >


Akademie der Künste

Pariser Platz 4, D-10117 BerlinMore >


Mobinil advertising banner

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Mobinil advertising banner



On January 25, 2011, the Egyptian revolution started against the military regime of Hosni Mubarak. In the first days of the uprising, many channels of communication (Internet, cell phone networks) were blocked by the government with the help of service providers. Mobinil, a major mobile phone operator, suspended their network service on government orders, helping the military disperse the masses on the streets and disrupt protesters’ ability to organize. It wasn’t only Mobinil that did this, but also two other companies: Vodafone and Etisalat. According to the Egyptian Communications Law, suspension of communication services can be ordered by the authorities in case of emergency and threat to national security. But it doesn’t really matter whether or not the companies followed orders. They are just like the military and any other business in the world. They do not care about people. They care about their own interests and money.


Recent Mobinil advertisements—like the one on view in the exhibition—capitalize on the revolution and struggles for democracy. They feature images of protesters and quote famous politicians who expressed support for the Egyptian struggle (like Austrian President Heinz Fischer stating: "The people of Egypt are the greatest people on earth and they deserve the Nobel Prize for Peace."). To companies like Mobinil, the revolution is just another theme they can exploit—a hook that they use to make a profit.

by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza


According to their website: "Mobinil is a publicly traded company that is proud to be Egyptian, offering the best services for its customers and the Egyptian market. Since inception, we have been committed to the principle of impartiality without taking positions in politics or religion, but actively participate in serving and developing the community, while preserving its values."


“Berek” by Artur Żmijewski

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Film still from "Berek"; 1999; Artur Żmijewski


By Artur Żmijewski

The film Berek (Game of Tag) was made in 1999. In it a group of people play a kid’s game. They are naked, they run around, they laugh a lot. But they are also very serious. They know where they are—in the gas chamber of a former Nazi extermination camp. Berek is about a part of history that is treated as "untouchable" and about overly painful memories, when the official commemorations of this history are not enough. The murdered people are victims—but we, the living, are also victims. And as such we need a kind of treatment or therapy, so we can create a symbolic alternative; instead of dead bodies we can see laughter and life. Berek is about how we can engage with this brutal history and work with imposed memory. It’s possible to have active access to history, and to attempt to emancipate ourselves from the trauma.


I was accused by the director of Martin-Gropius-Bau, Gereon Sievernich, of not respecting the dignity of the victims of the Holocaust, and he removed Berek from the exhibition Side by Side. Poland – Germany. A 1000 Years of Art and History, curated by Anda Rottenberg (September 23, 2011–January 9, 2012). Sievernich seems not to be conscious of the fact that acts of censorship always hurt the dignity of the living. He pretends to know what the truth is and imposes his own version of things, instead of allowing for debate.


Anthropologist Joanna Tokarska-Bakir recently sent me a comment on the controversy:


It’s interesting how the whole issue with Berek explodes now. The video is old. I would emphasize the fact that it is a way of breaking with the kitsch of the Holocaust—which is presented as the guardian of memory, while at the same time that very memory is destroyed, ensuring that the Holocaust would remain a Jewish-only issue. Your video is a way of dealing with the violent appropriation of the Holocaust—through a shock re-coding of that which has become congealed in the solemn interpretations controlled by the "high priests".


I would also say that—and I feel it more than ever—all of us, who feel there is still a lot left to say, find it more and more difficult to reach the audience, as nobody wants to hear about the Shoah anymore. Phenomena as excessive as the Holocaust and its representations can never take their proper place—there is always too little or too much of them. (…)

The common opinion in Poland is that there is too much of them. It seems that this man [Hermann Simon, director of the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation, who sent a letter to Sievernich expressing his condemnation of the video], also thinks that way—he does not understand the language of art, but he is important enough for Germans to listen to him (the German complexes). Someone should explain to him, with all due respect, that he is mistaken. As a victim, he does not hold exclusive rights to the public debate. (…) In Berek you found a pseudonym for something that no one wants to hear about anymore. You tricked the Polish guardians of memory. You placed two things—nakedness and a children’s game (Berek)—in the context of memory: namely in the same situation in which Jews were murdered. And that’s a lot.

That is why we are showing Berek in the 7th Berlin Biennale—to react against this impulse to censor, self-censor, and close off discussion.

by Artur Żmijewski


Artur Żmijewski is an artist and a member of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) who lives in Berlin and Warsaw.



“7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Politics” by Artur Żmijewski

Can art influence reality? Most likely yes, but not when it acts alone. It can only do so if it is one of the many forces at play that... More >

“Berek” by Artur Żmijewski

The movie »Berek« was removed from the exhibition »Side by Side. Poland – Germany. A 1000 Years of Art and History« by the director of Martin-Gropius-Bau in atumn 2011. More >
“Berek” by Artur Żmijewski

„Facing the Scene” by Anna Baranowska and Luise Schröder

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Film still from "Facing the Scene” by Anna Baranowski and Luise Schröder, 2011

Facing the Scene

by Anna Baranowska and Luise Schröder

Anna Baranowski and Luise Schröder’s Facing the Scene, which was shot in November 2010, depicts the inauguration of the statue Christ the King. It concentrates on the logistics and preparation for the event, as well as its dismantling at the end of the celebrations. Meticulously observing the church community gathered for this ritual, the film shows everything from health and safety measures to people’s genuine awe and the public manifestations of belief embodied in the sculpture. It’s a kind of anthropological investigation of how the consumption of holiness is packaged


Anna Baranowska is an artist whose work deals with collective social phenomena and the mass media landscape of our time. She lives and works in Leipzig. Luise Schröder is an artist, art mediator, and activist who is interested in aspects of history in the making and its reconstruction. She lives and works in Leipzig and Berlin.

“Christ the King” by Mirosław Patecki

In 2001 Polish priest Sylwester Zawadzki came up with the idea to erect the biggest statue of Jesus Christ in the world on the outskirts of Świebodzin. The local authorities, church, and citizens of the town mobilized to create this religious monument, and sculptor Mirosław Patecki was commissioned [...]More >


“Beyond” by Lou Cantor

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Film still from "Beyond" by Lou Cantor, 2010


BY Lou Cantor

Beyond (2010/2012) by Lou Cantor documents the final phase of the construction of Christ the King in Świebodzin, when it was still not clear if the combination of compromised engineering techniques and the parish priest’s faith in the project would actually lead to its completion. For example, an unanticipated change in the dimensions of the figure caused problems with its placement, forcing it to be rotated thirty degrees to the left, so that Christ’s gaze turned away from the town toward its periphery and the outlying TESCO supermarket. The effort to erect such a monument in the middle of nowhere recalls the old saying: faith can move mountains.


Józefina Chętko is a member of Lou Cantor, a Berlin-based artist collective whose main scope of interest is grounded in intersubjectivity and interpersonal communication.


“Christ the King” by Mirosław Patecki

In 2001 Polish priest Sylwester Zawadzki came up with the idea to erect the biggest statue of Jesus Christ in the world on the outskirts of Świebodzin. The local authorities, church, and citizens of the town mobilized to create this religious monument, and sculptor Mirosław Patecki was commissioned [...]More >


“Christ the King” by Mirosław Patecki

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Photo: Artur Żmijewski

Video by Rafał Żwirek

Christ the King

by Mirosław Patecki

In 2001 Polish priest Sylwester Zawadzki came up with the idea to erect the biggest statue of Jesus Christ in the world on the outskirts of Świebodzin. The local authorities, church, and citizens of the town mobilized to create this religious monument, and sculptor Mirosław Patecki was commissioned to design it. The statue Christ the King was inaugurated ten years later in November 2010, about sixty kilometers from the German-Polish border and not far from the highway and train tracks of the Berlin–Warsaw line. The figure and its base reach over fifty meters, roughly the size of a ten-story housing block. It has already attracted thousands of worshipers and pilgrims, and thus contributes to bringing tourism and economic development to the structurally weak border region. There are future plans to establish a modern pilgrimage center, and to promote the statue worldwide—something that we also contribute to within the 7th Berlin Biennale.


During the exhibition the artist creates a replica of Christ’s head and turns the first floor of KW into his studio. Patecki doesn’t celebrate his artistic autonomy; rather he offers his services to the church, and that gave him the opportunity to create the giant figure of Jesus. Yet he is not really satisfied with the result. Lack of money, shoddy materials, and an unprofessional team transformed it into a dummy rather than a finished art object. But still it is able to induce religious enlightenment, and according to Patecki this is one of the roles of good art.


In the Berlin Biennale, the sculptor is given full control over the process of creation and hopefully a perfect face of Jesus will be presented to the public. The Christ the King statue confirms the institutionalized power of the Polish Catholic Church and its use of art. Bringing Christ the King into the realm of contemporary art, we try to do what the Vatican planned with its announced participation in the Venice Biennale—to show how powerful, ideological, and impressive religious art, and art in general, can be today. Not only in the new global churches in Nigeria or India, but also still in Central Europe, 100 kilometers from Berlin.


by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza


Mirosław Patecki is a sculptor who regularly works on projects commissioned by the Catholic Church.

“Beyond” by Józefina Chętko

The film by Józefina Chętko documents the final phase of the construction of Christ the King in Świebodzin, when it was still not clear if the combination of compromised engineering techniques [...]More >

„Facing the Scene” by Anna Baranowska and Luise Schröder

The film “Facing the Scene”, which was shot in November 2010, depicts the inauguration of the statue Christ the King. [...]More >

Breaking the News

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Breaking the News

Over the past couple of years, what was one dominant media language is being enriched by reports from civic initiatives, social media, and other platforms where non-official pieces of information also have their place. Artists are contributing to different media coverage with political and activist expression, constructing parallel narratives and reporting additional stories, which can be commonly found on the Internet. Breaking the News presents the activities of a number of artists whose documentary practice, readiness to act, civic disobedience, and willingness to put themselves on the front line exemplify how they can go beyond their individual self-interests and work toward real political relevance.


Breaking the News refuses to recognize the common limit where art ends. These art-journalists speak from the position of citizens who take responsibility for the realities around them and make clear where they stand. It is on view in the exhibition in the form of screenings, the content of which changes every couple of hours or days as an immediate reaction to political events worldwide. The installation is also presented in virtual space on the 7th Berlin Biennale website, YouTube, and Facebook. These artists, acting as researchers, journalists, and witnesses, practice what Hannah Arendt described as the core of citizenship itself: the right to have rights.


by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza


Click here for the Breaking the News Youtube Channel


FEMEN is a Ukrainian feminist group based in Kiev. Its main aim is to improve the role of women in the post-Soviet context through staging street protests against sex tourism, female exploitation, and exclusion. The videos on view in Breaking the News document FEMEN’s public actions (and many cases, their repression).



Filmpiraten is a network of video activists created in 2004 to produce counter-information within German society. Under non-commercial and copyleft-license principles, their work documents direct actions, demonstrations, and protests against nationalism, neo-Nazism, and capitalism.

Zafeiris Haitidis

Zafeiris Haitidis is a UK-born filmmaker based in Athens. His videos document the ongoing riots and widespread social unrest in Greece, as well as anti-government protests and their repression through police brutality.


Łukasz Konopa

Łukasz Konopa is a Polish documentary filmmaker based in London whose work deals with the process of political transformation in cities such as Berlin, Gdańsk, Kiev, and London. His research also explores groups on the margins of society and tourism as a social phenomenon, among other issues.


Mosireen is a collective based in Cairo that was created during the revolution to film, collect, and broadcast footage from the ground. They research and document torture, illegal military trials and detentions, or conduct live-streaming workshops from mobile phones. They also initiated Tahrir Cinema, which started during the sit-ins on Tahrir Square in July 2011 and was a series of public screenings that focused on counter-propaganda and aimed at raising awareness about biased media coverage.


Oleksiy Radynski

Oleksiy Radynski is an editor of the Ukrainian edition of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) magazine and a filmmaker based in Kiev. His work focuses on alternative educational practices, current threats to freedom of expression, and the ideologies of montage. He is also an activist at the Visual Culture Research Center, Kiev.



Tomáš Rafa

Tomáš Rafa is a Slovakian artist who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (Grzegorz Kowalski studio) in Warsaw. His work in Breaking the News deals with displays of racism and xenophobia and the tensions between patriotism and nationalism.



David Reeb

David Reeb is an Israeli artist who has been witnessing and documenting the humiliations and violent incidents against Palestinian protestors conducted by the Israeli Army and demonstrations against the occupation and confiscation of land.



David Rych

David Rych is an Austrian-Czech artist who has recently covered events for the project Breaking the News such as anti-Roma marches in the Czech Republic, anti-Pope demonstrations during Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany in 2011, and the Occupy demonstration at the Reichstag.


Deutschlandhaus as Venue

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Marta Gornicka

Glaswork by Peter Kowalski, Photo: Artur Żmijewski


„The Deported“ by Hermann Joachim Pagels, Photo: Artur Żmijewski

Deutschlandhaus As Venue

Ludwig Peter Kowalski

Hermann Joachim Pagels

The building today known as Deutschlandhaus was built in 1926 as the eastern wing of the adjacent Europahaus. Later taken over by the Third Reich government in 1933, the buildings housed amongst others the Ministry of Labor. Damaged during the war, they were renovated in the 1950s and have since been used by several government offices. From 1960, under the name Haus der ostdeutschen Heimat (House of the East German Homeland) Deutschlandhaus has also been used as a meeting point for the Landsmannschaften (territorial groups) and the Berlin branch of the League of Expellees and devoted itself to the preservation of "East German cultural assets." In 1974, the Foundation Deutschlandhaus was established and the building was given the name Deutschlandhaus. The building contains a number of art works including stained glass windows and lightboxes by Ludwig Peter Kowalski (1891–1967) and a sculpture by Hermann Joachim Pagels (1876–1959). Pagels’s work Die Ausgewiesenen (The Expellees) (1922) is located on the ground floor of Deutschlandhaus. It depicts German refugees who left formerly German regions, which became part of Poland or France after the First World War. Pagels studied at the State School of Fine Arts in Berlin. In the 1908 Who’s Who publication, he stated his political views as "social-liberal." During the Third Reich, he became famous for busts depicting Hitler, Mussolini, Hess, or Goebbels and his work was exhibited by the Nazis in the Große Deutsche Kunstausstellungen (Great German Art Exhibitions) (1937–1944) at Haus der Kunst in Munich.


In 1950, Silesian artist Kowalski designed three monumental stained glass windows for the exhibition Deutsche Heimat im Osten (German Homeland in the East), taking place in the Berlin exhibition grounds. The windows show an allegorical depiction of Prussia (agriculture and horse breeding), Silesia (mining and linen weaving), and Pomerania (agriculture and fishing) and frame the staircase of Deutschlandhaus since 1975. He also created several glass works picturing the emblems of all current German federal states and former German territories, which originate from the Bundeshaus in Berlin-Wilmersdorf—the seat of the appointed representative of the Federal Government of Germany in Berlin during the division of Germany.


Metaphorically speaking, Deutschlandhaus seems to be a container of repressed or excluded German memory, which the Stiftung Flucht, Vertreibung, Versöhnung (SFVV) (Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation) would like to bring back into focus. Deutschlandhaus is presently closed and will be redesigned to host the exhibition, documentation, and information center of the SFVV, planned to open in 2016. It will focus on flight and expulsion during the 20th century.


by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza


Remembering Piece by Piece. First objects for the future exhibition

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 [...]More >



Stresemannstrasse 90, D-10963 BerlinMore >

10th Berlin Biennale