Queen Louise of Prussia (1776-1810) remains one of the most popular women of Prussian history to this day. Initially admired for her beauty, simplicity and warmth, she became a figure of civic hope for political reform during the time of the French Revolution and later served to rally the struggle for Prussian independence from Napoleon.
Peacock Island (Pfaueninsel) was one of Louise's favourite places. Located on the Havel River southwest of Berlin, the island is unique for its architectural, cultural and landscape history. As a place of retreat and recreation for the Prussian kings, the island became a landscape park with numerous architectural gems, such as the artificial castle ruins. It was named after a menagerie of exotic animals, created in the 1820s based on the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.
In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the death of the Prussian queen in 2010, Peacock Island was transformed into an expansive exhibition venue. Coinciding with the 6th berlin biennial, the exhibition presented recent international contemporary art that highlighted the history of the island and the mythos of Queen Louise. Visitors were able to stroll between the location-specific contemporary artworks and discover the diverse cultural historic connections between "Weltflucht" (escape from the world) and "Weltsehnsucht" (longing for the world). Museum didactic exhibits and events were aimed to especially attract the interest of families and children.
Three compact days of events, based on the motto "Picnic on Peacock Island" and featuring theatre performances, music, games and readings on cultural historic topics, re-invoked the spirit of the royal excursions to the island two hundred years ago.
Artistic director: Michael Lukas
Participating artists: Sylvie Bussières (ES), Christian Engelmann, Joan Fontcuberta (ES), Michael Lukas, Robert Stieve, Martin Weimar.
Venues and schedule:
Exhibition on the Peacock Island (Pfaueninsel) Berlin: 1 May - 31 Oct. 2010
Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg
Allee nach Sanssouci 5