Künstlers Traum - Goethe in Buchenwald
Artist’s Dream - Goethe in Buchenwald
Weimar, Germany 1999
The starting point of this work was a commission of the 1999 European culture capital Weimar. Over a period of seven months Gerz told the story, on six billboards - each one placed for more than a month - of the green light linking Belvedere Castle, the mythical site of German classic, romantic and early modern creation in literature, music and philosophy, and the nearby infamous Concentration camp of Buchenwald. Insisting on the paradox of German history, Gerz drew a portrait of the city, which is at the same time the birth of modernism (the Bauhaus and the Weimar Republic), and a centre of the Nazi past. The work was aimed at the residents of Weimar who, after the end of the Third Reich, lived through forty years of state communism, and their desire to come to grips with the city’s conflicting identities. The billboards told the “true" story of Weimar commissioning a work to the artist, in order to free the city from Buchenwald’s overwhelming shadow.

Can one play with the truth?

Real names in the story made it difficult to say where fiction began and where reality ended.

For seven months, the commercial billboards played in Weimar’s historical centre with the city’s past: real people, including the acting mayor, prominent citizens, as well as several politicians spoke out, and debated the past of Europe’s cultural capital. On December 22 1999, the night of the winter solstice, the green light “that sometimes, when the night is clear, crosses Weimar’s sky", came true, connecting the two places both in space and in time.


Object: 6 posters (260 x 360 cm), laser installation, newspaper ads (in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, TLZ Weimar, Thüringer Allgemeine among others). From May 1 to December 31, 1999.
In collaboration with students of Bauhaus University, Weimar.



Publication:
- Künstlers Traum - Goethe in Buchenwald
Artist’s Dream - Goethe in Buchenwald
Hatje/Cantz, Stuttgart, 1999 (German, English and French)

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© Jochen Gerz
 
© Maik Schuck