On the 4th of November 1989, more than 500,000 people convened on Berlin's Alexanderplatz for the largest rally of the democracy movement in the GDR. Our project aims to call attention to this event in the place in which it occurred.
[please also see the Foreword by Thomas Flierl]
For this idea, a vivid form of commemoration was chosen, a form developed by the artist Pat Binder for a homage to the German graphic artist, illustrator and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz (1867 - 1945). Since October 1997, in an illuminated billboard on the site of the home of Käthe and Karl Kollwitz in Prenzlauer Berg, she has been presenting works in a three-month rotation by artists who are committed, in a current sense, to Kollwitz's humanistic spirit of creation.
[See Foto/Graphik Galerie Käthe Kollwitz]
Dr. Thomas Flierl, Council Chairman for Ecological City Planning, Building and Housing in Berlin's Mitte District, suggested adapting this concept for a »Denkzeichen 4. November 1989« (Memory Marker to the 4th of November 1989) on Alexanderplatz. It is being implemented by a project-group consisting of Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt.
In the »Denkzeichen 4. November 1989« works will be shown for a period of 3 months each, of artists from Germany and other countries who deal with the individual and collective effort to establish and protect democratic conditions, as well as with the conflicts of the individual between adaptation and resistance, resignation and civil courage. As Thomas Flierl wrote in his Foreword , the »questioning of democracy's democratization« is explicitly included.
Through the international nature of the project, parallels between the rally in Berlin or the democracy movement in the GDR and democratic efforts in different parts of the world should become clear.
The artists create an artwork adjusted to the specific medium of an illuminated billboard, originally designated for advertisement in a prominent urban public space, and use its abilities to affect the audience. The »exhibition rotation« will take place at the beginning of each February, May, August and November. Intensive public relations work is part of the project, and will contribute to keeping interest in the project and its historic motive permanently alive.
An information panel allocated to the illuminated billboard presents facts about the reference of this »Denkzeichen«, the demonstration on 4 November 1989, as well as about the exhibiting artists and the works being presented.
Through a continuously updated presentation on the Internet (in English and German), the project will be expanded from the urban into the virtual realm in order to increase its radius of action and to make a detailed documentation accessible worldwide. In this way, feedback in the exhibiting artists' countries of origin, as well as direct reactions from the public will be possible.
(Translation: Holly Austin)
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Denkzeichen 4. November 1989