all photos from the exhibition rooms © Birgitta Schmidt
Exhibition from October 28, 2019 to February 14, 2020
Vernissage on October 27, 2019, 06:00-10:00 p.m.
30 years ago, in November 1989, after 28 years of existence, the Berlin Wall, symbol of German division, was accidentally opened by strong public pressure from many people in the eastern part of the country.The trigger was a misleadingly formulated note read at a press conference by Günter Schabowski, O-tone: "To the best of my knowledge ... that is immediately, at once".On the occasion of this globally symbolic event, Schloss Biesdorf will open the exhibition Von Menschen und Mauern/Of People And Walls on October 27,2019.In addition to various artistic works on the Berlin Wall, its opening and its slow disappearance, the exhibition shows positions on political walls in a global context. Today, walls still demarcate and exclude people all over the world, they lock them in, constrict and separate people from each other. The perspectives of the participating artists reveal dividing lines and boundaries between the included and the excluded, illuminating the relationship between man and political power. Works of fine art from various genres are shown: painting, graphics, sculpture, photography, performance, multimedia and video.
Marina Abramovic/Ulay, Kurt Buchwald, Christo (reproduction with the kind support of Matthias Koddenberg), Sighard Gille, Sabina Grzimek, Franz John, Martin Kippenberger (reproduction with the kind support of Galerie Gisela Capitain), Mark Lammert, Wolf Leo, Ute Mahler and Werner Mahler, Rudi Meisel, Manfred Paul, Stefan Roloff, Jürgen Schneider, Erasmus Schröter, Victor Sloan, Peter Thieme, Wolf Vostell and Dieter Wendland and others
Curated by Gabriele Muschter and Uwe Warnke in collaboration with Karin Scheel
Lenders: the artists, DPA
A catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition.
Dialogical guided tours through the exhibition with Fenia Franz (Labor M)
on Saturdays, 02.11. / 09.11. / 16.11. / 23.11. / 30.11. / 07.12. / 14.12.2019 // 11.01. / 18.01. / 25.01. / 01.02.2020 each 02:00-03:00 p.m.
Further information on the accompanying programme: Labor M – Art Communication
An event of the department of culture Marzahn-Hellersdorf.
More information about culture in Marzahn-Hellersdorf can be found on the Internet at
Marina Abramovic / Ulay, Performance artist, Nwe York, Amsterdam/Ljubljana
"China Ring", 1986
In preparation for their long-term project "The Lovers - The Great Wall Walk" they travelled through China to get to know the country and its people. The video "China-Ring" was created. In 1988 both finished their collaboration with the project "The Lovers - The Great Wall Walk". In ninety days, they approached each other from both ends of the Great Wall to finally separate on the last day, the Day of Encounter.
Kurt Buchwald, Photographer, Action Artist, Berlin
from the series: "Ein Tag in Ostberlin", 1986/2019, photo print on Alu-Dibond
"Blendenwagen", 2005, chipboard and wood, painted
Kurt Buchwald has always worked consistently and conceptually. From the very beginning he has questioned the medium of photography itself. In his works he repeatedly shows us what the process of photography actually is. It is obvious that the view through the viewfinder is extraordinarily limited.
Christo (1935-2009), New York
Temporary wall project with metal drums (Rue Visconti, Paris, 6th arrondissement), 1961/62, collage and typewritten text
One year later, in 1962, Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude erected a wall of oil barrels in the Rue Visconti on the left bank of the Seine in Paris under the impression of the construction of the Wall in 1961. The title "The Iron Curtain", his concern: to show the effects of the broken off connection of paths between people.
(Reproduction with the kind support of Matthias Koddenberg)
Sighard Gille, painter/graphic artist, Leipzig
"The Beginning of Something", object, 1989
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Sighard Gille painted a picture under the first impression of this event, but was then so insecure and overwhelmed by the rapid changes that he scratched the paint off the canvas again and filled it into a jelly sausage glass.
It is also to be understood as a failed attempt, which the artist in this way manages to transform into something new in a profound and humorous way.
"Star of Unity", oil on canvas, 1991
"9.10.89", oil on canvas, 1989
Sabina Grzimek, sculptor, Berlin and Brandenburg
"Seven gestures of the upright gait", 1993, bronze, (middle version)
Enumerator, Looking, Questioner, Rising from the water, Caller, Thinker, Reminder
The figures are all rather rejecting, concentrated on their interior, brusque to the outside - they assert themselves.
The upright gait as a symbol of pride, dignity, strength of character. The figures have backbone and remain consistent, even in difficult situations: as a moral statement of conscience. In addition to the figures, etchings by the artist are shown.
Franz John, multimedia artist, Berlin
"interzone", 1999, CD-ROM, iMac computer + mouse
Immediately after the opening of the Berlin Wall, including the death strip, Franz John covered the entire length of the Wall. He wanted to capture their condition - while the tourists tried to break out pieces of the Wall in the inner-city area. Under the suspicious eyes of border guards on their meaningless activities, he laid the foundations for a document that he later published in the CD ROM shown here.
Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997), Berlin, Paris, Vienna and elsewhere
O. T., from the series "dear painter, paint me", 1981, reproduction on Alu-Dibond
In 1981 he created the painting "Lieber Maler mal mir", which he did not paint himself, but "commissioned" as an ironic depiction of the divided city of Berlin.
(Reproduction with the kind support of Galerie Gisela Capitain)
Mark Lammert, painter/graphic designer, Berlin
Picture series "ALLIIERT", 1994-1996, oil on the backs of maps
The large-format series of pictures entitled Alliiert recalls the state of Germany after the end of the Second World War, the disunity of the people, guilt and atonement. The human figure, strongly reduced, available as material. Only the picture carrier of this painting, the reverse side of old maps mounted on linen, showing a Europe if you saw it, that it doesn't exist any more, opens another dimension.
Wolf Leo, designer, Berlin
"Painting reasons: The East Side of the Berlin Wall", painting action at Potsdamer Platz, 19.-21.11.1989, 1989/2019, collages, reproductions
Wolf Leo co-initiated the painting action at Potsdamer Platz on 21.11.1989.
Artists met to paint the wall from the east side. The next day, border guards painted everything over - it was only months later that the "Eastside Gallery" was created. The artists were too early with their action.
Ute Mahler and Werner Mahler, Photographers, Berlin
Series "Where the world ended", 2010-2012
The series "Wo die Welt zu Ende war" (Where the world ended) is a joint work 2010-2012. With the certain feeling that history is never over, they travelled to the former "green" border. At the previously manifest dividing line between the political blocs, they experienced the remains of a restricted area in which death at home and the world actually came to an end.
Rudi Meisel, Photographer, Berlin
From the series "Landsleute", 1977-1987
As a West German photographer he accompanied the journalist Marlies Menge on her travels in and through the GDR. In the process, he developed a look at the found everyday life, which is out for what connects it, recognizes it and captures it. This is not denunciatory, know-it-all and arrogant. It is downright irritating, surprising. It resonates with a lot of humour.
Manfred Paul, Photographer, Berlin
20.04.1990 - 15.00 o'clock - Köpenicker Street / Panorama, 1990, Digital-Print on Alu-Dibond
20.03.1990 - 07:00 - Schwedter Street, 1990, Baryt-Print
24.02.1990 - 16:30 - An der Buchholzer Straße, 1990, Baryt-Print
18.06.1990 - 18:00 - Bernauer Strasse, 1990,Baryt-Print'
21.03. 1990 - 9:30 - At the Falkplatz, 1990, Baryt-Print
20.02.1990 - 8:30 - An der Buchholzer Straße, 1990, Baryt-Print
19.04.1990 - 10:00 - Cemetery St. Hedwig-Gemeinde / French Cathedral Community, 1990, Baryt-Print
02.01.1990 - 14:00 - Schwedter Strasse, 1990, digital print
Manfred Paul's impressive photographs are dedicated to a casual everyday life. Only titled with date, time and place do they recall what is often overlooked as a banal phenomenon and are thus also a chronicle of vanished places.
Stefan Roloff, German-American painter, video artist and filmmaker, Berlin/New York
Vopos in the East and Fopos in the West I - III, photo of the action at the border crossing Bernauer Straße, Berlin, 1981, light boxes
In 1980, the artist went directly to the wall with a few friends to carry out an artistic action. Dressed in whitewashed military coats and caps, they build an observation tower on which puppets occupy it, march, assume positions, observe and are observed. In imperfect poses, they copy a set of rules that they could observe every day beyond the Wall. Their not harmless performance was a theatre of the absurd.
Jürgen Schneider, author and artist, Düsseldorf
Walls in West Belfast, 1990
Victor Sloan, photographer, Northern Ireland
Walls in Northern Ireland, 2019
Jürgen Schneider and Victor Slohan independently photographed the walls in Northern Ireland, yet the brutality of this division is unanimously reflected in the images.
Erasmus Schröter, Photographer, Leipzig
From the series "Komparsen", 2016/2017
With a slightly mocking look, the pictures suggest (although they were not created specifically in connection with the Berlin Wall) the desolation of the Berlin Wall as well. An everyday life that clouds over everything; accepting the circumstances and hoping.
Peter Thieme, Photographer, Berlin
"Berlin Escape", 1961-1988, Fine Art Prints
In the 2010s, Peter Thieme photographed places along the Berlin Wall where border breakthroughs were recorded between 1961 and 1989 - Berlin places / Berlin escapes - and, by the way, tells the story of fateful events. The authentic places have long since been reshaped, streets and built-up areas have taken their place.
Wolf Vostell (1932- 1998), painter, sculptor and happening artist, Berlin
9. November 89, 1989 (reproduction on Alu-Dibond), from the cycle "Fall of the Berlin Wall".
An artist full of life energy, he reacted with great joy to the news that the wall no longer existed. He spontaneously painted the large-format painting "9 November 89", 1989 from the cycle "The Fall of the Berlin Wall". Vostell saw himself as a political artist. He has created over 50 works on the theme of the Wall, including large-format paintings, drawings, and silkscreen prints, some of which are shown in the exhibition.
Dieter Wendland, Photographer, Berlin
Wendland's visual language is calm and objective, his gaze very accurate without dissecting. Pain over the desolation of the city divided by a wall becomes clear in the pictures.
We show the following works with the kind support of dpa/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH:
"U.S. Mexico Border Fence and Landscape, no year, digital print.
"US Mexico Border Wall Arizona," 2019, digital print.
"Nicosia: The last divided capital of Europe", 2016, Digital-Print
"Cyprus - Greek Border in Nicosia", 2006, digital print
Passages to Jerusalem for the first Friday prayer of Ramadan, 2019, digital print
"East Jerusalem: Living with the Wall", 2018, Digital-Print
"Nachtansicht der entmilitarisierten Zone", 2018, Digitaldruck
"Südkorea Koreas Diplomatie", 2018, Digitaldruck
"China, Mutianyu, Große Mauer", o. J., Digitaldruck
Sun Jun Badaling
"Große Mauer voller Herbstfarben", o. J., Digital-Print