THE WRAPPED REICHSTAG AND MEMORIAL FOR THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE: SOME DIFFICULTIES WITH CONTEMPORARY MONUMENTS IN POST-REUNIFICATION BERLIN

THE WRAPPED REICHSTAG AND MEMORIAL FOR THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE: SOME DIFFICULTIES WITH CONTEMPORARY MONUMENTS IN POST-REUNIFICATION BERLIN

Megan Rook-Koepsel

Wrapped in twice as much fabric as would have been necessary to cover the surface of the building snugly and shining in its new silvery metallic surface, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Reichstag had a blank reflective quality that allowed it to take on the shadows and colors of its surroundings (Figure 5). reflective surface라서 주변 환경 흡수한다. (9)

James Young has called it a “spectacular and necessary reconsecration of an otherwise defiled historical site.”17 Andreas Huyssen maintains that even though the work allowed for a moment of reflection, ultimately the Wrapped Reichstag encouraged the public to celebrate German democratic culture.18 Both of these scholars recognize the power of the project to change the public’s reading of the building, and the potential it had to enact a kind of renewal of a defiled or invisible site. But neither one addresses the work’s more complicated readings as a non-traditional monument that reflects the fragmented and ambiguous nature of memory and the past.

Hal Foster, for example, has tended to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work as devoid of social meaning or relevance. Foster referred to the Gates Project as “an organizational feat at best, not an institutional critique,” and “a telling instance of high kitsch…a cross between the Yellow Brick Road and a grand opening where the packaging was literally all.”19 Foster calls Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s works, “prettied up” public spaces, “empty of social consequence.”20 단순히 surface decoration으로 봤다. 

But in its clear engagement with a historic monument, the Wrapped Reichstag cannot be seen as a purely aesthetic work, or one empty of social or political meaning. (10)

In relationship to the building’s history, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project cannot be thought of as an aesthetic project solely concerned with artistic endeavor or pure spectacle. (13)

Wolfgang Schäuble were strongly opposed to the artists’ going ahead with their project.

“appropriating nationally political symbols for artistic purposes would forever desecrate their value. The artists’ action would amount to a pernicious tampering with a patriotic symbol, ridiculing German democracy on a global stage.” 34 (34 Hanssen, “Christo’s Wrapped Reichstag,” 366 and 359 respectively. This is Hanssen’s paraphrasing of Shäuble’s concerns, which she says he voiced “repeatedly.”) (17)

Beatrice Hanssen –

Some of those representatives in favor of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project saw the work as a way to memorialize a moment in history, a pivotal moment when the tumultuous past could be overcome and a new Germany could begin. (17)

For these representatives, the ability of the monument to create a renewal of the Reichstag would help to skew public collective memory towards a more favorable reading of German nationalism and unity. Hanssen mentions that, “those [politicians] in favor [of the project] countered that positive aesthetic images would diffuse and stamp out of public memory the shameful, negative images of dangerous neo-Nazi violence, thus signaling a radical new beginning for the future Berlin republic.”36

Though Christo and Jeanne-Claude generally refuse to publicly admit that their works engage with politics..(20)

..This negation of the traditional monument form is an important part of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artistic oeuvre. (21)

The Wrapped Reichstag, conceived only one year following the Wrapped Monument to Leonardo da Vinci, also negates a monument at the heart of a city’s history. The wrapping of the Reichstag’s imposing structure must have been incredibly visually arresting; indeed, the actual visual and physical facts of the project cannot be ignored in any reading of this work. In order to see the conceptual ideas at work in the Wrapped Reichstag we must turn to a critical look at how those ideas are portrayed through the visual and physical realities of the work. (22)

yet the blankness of the wrapping, a visual fact immediately apparent when looking at images of the work, served to make the familiar building suddenly unfamiliar 이 부분은 PM이랑 비슷? (Figure 12). In this way, the artists abstracted the monument 이건 PM이랑 차이점?? form of the Reichstag, complicating its engrained meaning and symbolism, and allowing the viewer to flesh out those  meanings that had been overshadowed.42 The viewer was encouraged to fill the blankness of the fabric’s surface with his or her own memory-work, and could see those memories as part of the building’s history.43

암튼 이 부분은 space narrative new narrative로 연결 가능 active space and memory. different narrative

The Wrapped Reichstag’s blank surface also provided a distinct ambiguity in the meaning of the work. Patricia Phillips calls this the ‘constructive ambiguity’ that is an intrinsic part of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work. 44

As Phillips suggests, it is this ambiguity that “leads to clarity of questions,” and that “empowers the public.” 46 (23)

the Wrapped Reichstag’s visual abstraction suggested the complex and incomplete quality of memory. The Wrapped Reichstag allowed the viewers to activate their own memories and thoughts of the past, which encouraged the recovery of a multivalent reading of the past. These interpretations are not controlled; the Wrapped Reichstag’s ambiguity ensures its open, non-didactic nature, and the work’s ephemerality ensures that any memory or reading of the work is not fixed. (24)

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work turned a static object, which was otherwise very much a natural part of the landscape into a dynamic  monument that recognized the temporality of history in its constant recognition of the passing of time. At stake in the monument’s ephemerality and its quality of “vivification” was a denial of a reconciliation with the past. The Wrapped Reichstag instead serves as a memory-site that must be remembered, and whose lack of completion creates another “ghost,” or remnant in the symbolic history of the Reichstag. (27)

memory-site라는 말!!! temporal- narrative – memory –

Through these physical qualities, Christo and Jeanne-Claude suggested that memory must be a lived memory, and that we must never become complacent with history. (28)

The beauty of the Wrapped Reichstag, it seems, takes away from its ability to engage memory… Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s public projects all incorporate temporality in efforts to make present and visible difficult social and historical truths.. (31)

 

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