The Kunsthalle Rostock was the only museum built by the East German regime. In its final exhibition before closing for renovation, the Kunsthalle Rostock will examine what is perhaps the most famous cultural monument of the GDR – the Palace of the Republic, built between 1973 and 1976 on the site of the former Berlin Stadtschloss (City Palace). The Palace of the Republic served as the seat of the People’s Chamber and a public cultural centre with numerous restaurants and rooms for diverse functions. In 1990 the building was closed due to asbestos contamination, and from 2006 to 2008, was demolished. The project to rebuild the Stadtschloss on the same site is nearing completion and is scheduled to open together with the new Humboldtforum cultural centre in 2019.
The planned exhibition on the Palace of the Republic is comprised of four parts. The first presents works of art which were created especially for the Palace. Bernhard Heisig, Ronald Paris, Willi Sitte, Werner Tübke and many others had produced artworks for the lobby, restaurants and plenary rooms. The second part of the exhibition presents pieces which artistically reflect the significance of the building for the cultural life in the GDR and East Berlin. The third part displays contemporary artistic reactions to the demolition of the building. And the fourth section allows visitors to sensually experience the interior of the Palace by means of historical furnishings and a replica of a café. A work entitled “Echo” by Bettina Pousttchi will transform the exterior of the Kunsthalle Rostock into the facade of the Palace of the Republic. Throughout the exhibition, works of art which boosted the image of the East German regime will be confronted by other pieces which took a far more critical stance to state policies, thereby highlighting the ambivalence of art as both standing apart and being a part of East and West German politics.
The exhibition project includes a lecture programme which explores the connections between art and buildings of power. The international symposium “Palaces of the People” will examine how countries have dealt with politically charged architecture following historical upheavals.
Artistic director: Elke Neumann
Artists: Rudolf Austen, Sibylle Bergemann, Árpád Bondy & Margit Knapp Cazzola, Günther Brendel, Kurt Buchwald, Stefanie Bürkle, Gerd Danigel, Georg Eckelt, Christoph Eckelt, Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani, Thomas Florschuetz, Claas Gutsche, Doug Hall, Ernst Hassebrauk, Harald Hauswald, Bernhard Heisig, Kerstin Honeit, Jo Jastram, Irina Liebmann, Katrin von Maltzahn, Maix Mayer, Arwed Messmer, Ronald Paris, Andrea Pichl, Gertraude Pohl, Bettina Pousttchi, Lars Ø. Ramberg, raumlabor/ EXYZT, Jörn Reißig, Christoph Rokitta, Fred Rubin, Thomas Sandberg, Wilhelm Schmied, Willi Sitte, Emma Stibbon, Jan Stieding, Annette Streyl, Daniel Theiler, Werner Tübke, Dieter Urbach, Ulrich Wüst.