Art divides opinions

It is art’s traditional role to absorb different social currents and reflect it back into society.


This is particularly the case with political art which is most successful when it triggers fierce discussions; discussions, that is, and not “nearly violent assaults against the artist” (the Press Office of the Biennale) or the artwork.


In Berlin art has been a factor to enhance entire districts –– something which has been appreciated by business people and politicians. Once art doesn’t play along however, refusing to be appropriated commercially, it becomes a quick thing to be dropped.


We shouldn’t forget that the President of the Akademie der Künste, Klaus Staeck, is himself a representative of political art, whose incisive and critical posters have lead to many controversies.


It seems however that with increasing age one tends to loose one’s aggression towards the ruling systems, is satiated and a little tired from fighting.


This is why it’s usually the younger artists who have to continue these traditions, and –– in the case of Nada Prlja –– she succeeds in doing this with a single wall piece: a barrier that identifies the dangerous wall lingering close to the surface in people’s heads.


Dangerous terms such as “ghetto” are being thrown around –– an unambiguously polemical, demagogical term which the media love to spread and which the local residents rightly defy. Yet it wasn’t the artist but counter-forces who created this image of a ghettoization.


Why does the artist have to be confronted with angry business people, forcing her to confirm the dismantling of the installation (as written in the newspaper TAZ)? If the main problem currently is that residents feel they have not been informed about the project beforehand, it is the politically responsible players and organizers that should come forward at this point.


The owner of the shop “Motzladen” welcomes the installation. According to him all media and parties interviewed him, though he then wasn’t quoted in a single article. Only countering voices were represented here.


A helpful advice for suffering business people:

The loss in revenues caused by the street barrier can be made relevant regarding taxes if one can prove the loss in comparison to the numbers of the previous year.


by MM and HH, Residents

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10th Berlin Biennale