Mahnmal gegen Faschismus

Monument Against Fascism

Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz

CR 89. Year 1986

Wv 89 Monument Against054
1986 Hamburg Monument Against Fascism Gerz Studio 2 Copy
Wv 89 Monument Against Fascism 015
Wv 89 Monument Against050 Copy
Wv89 Jochen Gerz Mahnmal Gegen Faschismus 024 Reduit Copy
Wv 89 Monument Against Facism Jochen Gerz Pscut 053 Copy
Wv 89 Monument Against058
Wv 89 Monument Against Fascism 021
Wv89 Jochen Gerz Mahnmal Gegen Faschismus 017 R Copy
Wv 89 Monument Against056Cut Copy

We invite the citizens of Harburg, and visitors to the city, to add their names here to ours. In doing so we commit ourselves to remain vigilant. As more and more names cover this 12-metre tall lead ...

When a graffiti appears on its surface which claims that ‘Erich loves Kirsten’ it is not necessarily a trivialization of the enormity of the political legacy but perhaps a manifestation of banality, of the oversaturation of culture or possibly of the anxiety of those who come into contact and are faced with the need to respond without having a discourse of response. However we may understand this response we need to see that it is a form of active engagement rather than the expected one of a pious genuflection.

Irit Rogoff 1993

Thus the monument in Hamburg-Harburg is perhaps the first memorial in history that does not want to be better than the society by which it is erected.

Walter Grasskamp 1994

With audacious simplicity, the Gerzes' countermonument flouted any number of cherished memorial conventions: its aim was not to console but to provoke, not to remain fixed but to change, not to be everlasting but to disappear, not to be ignored by its passerby but to demand interaction, not to remain pristine but to invite its own violation and desanctification, not to accept graciously the burden of memory but to throw it back at the town's feet. By defining itself in opposition to the traditional memorial's task, the Gerzes' Harburg monument illustrated concisely the possibilities and limitations of all memorials elsewhere…. The Harburg monument denaturalised what the Gerzes felt was an artificial distance between artist and public generated by the holy glorification of art. Ultimately, such a monument would undermine its own authority by inviting and then incorporating the authority of the passerby…. In this way, the memorial has not only returned the burden of memory to those who come looking for it but has changed the way a generation of artists and the public have come to regard the very idea of the memorial.

James E. Young 2000

… audiences have always acted around, in response to, and with monuments. The innovation of 1980s countermonuments was to recognise and codify this audience reaction as part of what the monument itself sought to achieve. The most prominent example is Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz’s Monument against Fascism in Harburg, a suburb of the city of Hamburg. … I would like to reconsider the Monument against Fascism as social practice rather than as Countermonument. … The vandalism was neither welcome nor unexpected. In his first proposal, Gerz already anticipated uninvited reactions: "Of course it can happen that citizens and visitors write other things on the column than their names, for example pro-fascist slogans. This does not bother me, the monument is a Relevator [Gerz’s coinage, presumably from Latin relevare, to show, MW], not a false piety, a photograph of the city as it really is, not how it imagines itself or in its Sunday best. Contemporary sculptures often provoke only graffiti, why not turn the tables and make use of the writing as testimony." (64) "note (64) with text in German, p. 186: “Natürlich kann es sein, dass die Bürger und Besucher, anderes auf die Skulptur schreiben als ihren Namen, z.B. pro-faschistische Parolen. Das stört mich nicht, das Mal ist ein Relevator, keine Frömmelei, ein Foto der Stadt, wie sie wirklich ist, nicht wie sie sich vorstellt oder sonntäglich putzt. Zeitgenössiche Skulpturen provozieren oft als einziges Bekritzelungen, warum nicht den Spies umdrehen, die Beschriftung als Zeugnis dienlich machen.” Project file: “Bezirk Harburg—Mahnmal gegen Faschismus Rathausmarkt Harburg,” file number 32-075.85/14.1, received February 1, 1984." … The column, imagined as a “photograph” of its social surrounding… Indeed, the Harburg Memorial can be regarded as a document written and read by the public: whether as photograph revealing the city we have stopped seeing… the monument is no longer propaganda but a political lightning rod making inarticulate tensions visible. It is ...not a neutral recording of public opinion but a critical survey: one that, declaring its own stance, takes stock of the agreement and disagreement it provokes. (The prominence of the documentary function, treated as provocation, connects this project to Gerz’s EXIT—The Dachau Project, ten years earlier. There, Gerz used the bureaucratic language of the museum of the Dachau concentration camp to argue that the language shows a continuation of authoritative ideology.) … The ‘invitation to desecration’ is thus by no means a refusal of authority, but rather a form of ‘vigilance’, a monument to the hostilities it documents. … Commemoration is always an act, a call to remembrance, a public gesture carried out, not a feeling or internal representation… It is this public nature of commemoration that makes it politically relevant. The commemorator shows others that she commemorates. This does not make it a politics of presence, or of direct revolutionary action: for commemorative action, consisting of speech acts, is symbolic, it conveys commitment rather than changing reality in one go.

Mechtild Widrich 2014

While this monument served to interrupt and now displace memory from its traditional mode of representation and site of construction, it also interrupted everyday lives. The memorial forced people to live with a memorial for roughly 10 years and then to live with its absence. Memory is placed within an intentional relationship with the memorial, which places one in the context of living with and the context of living without at the same time in reference to the same thing. And it is this interplay that positions our living relations within a context and traditions of violence.

Alfred Franlowski 2015

Categories

Work in public space

Four-sided stele made of galvanized steel with a fine lead mantle, 1200 x 100 x 100 cm, weight approx. 7 t, underground shaft with viewing window, depth = 14 m, concrete footing, 4 steel pins for inscribing the surface (approx. 60,000 inscriptions), text panels

Location: Hamburg-Harburg at the corner of Harburger Ring and Hölertwiete/Sand at the Harburg-Rathaus S-Bahn station

After four years of discussion, the district council of Hamburg-Harburg resolves in 1983 to realize a Monument against Fascism. Five proposals are selected from a limited number of competition entries. Following discussion and a public hearing, the project by Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz is proposed. Residents and visitors of Hamburg are invited in seven different languages to inscribe their names on the lead mantle of a 12-meter-tall stele erected as a warning against fascism. When the accessible portion of the surface is covered with inscriptions, the stele is lowered by 140 cm into the ground. The monument is inaugurated on October 10, 1986. After having been lowered eight times, the stele disappears on November 19, 1993. Its cover plate lies flush with the pavement. Next to it is a text panel showing the chronological history of the erection, inscription and lowering of the stele. Part of the stele can be viewed through a viewing window from an underground passage.

Documentation

b/w and color photographs. Project-book (Stuttgart 1994)

Exhibitions of the documentation

New York 1993 (Berlin 1994. München 1994 u.a.O./a.o.p. 1995). Périgueux 1996. Bolzano 1999

Bibliography

I: Graz 1988, p. 37. Bonn 1989a, p. 167. Harburg 1990, p. 9. Darnétal 1991, p. 48. Davis 1992, p. 2. Gütersloh 1993b, pp. 160, 162. Stuttgart 1993, pp. 159-160.
Stuttgart 1994

Aschaffenburg 1995, p. 9. Ostfildern 1995, p. 82. Regensburg 1995a, pp. 256-257. Warzawa 1995, pp. 3-9, 11a. Arles 1996, pp. 150-151. Périgueux 1996, p. 10. Windsor 1996. Berlin 1997, p. 594. München 1997, pp. 144-145. Bolzano 1999, pp. 8, 52-57. Zürich 2000, p. 112. Vienna 2016, pp. 54-55 

II: Barkadma 1986. Brenken 1+2, 1986. Dagan 1986. Haase 1, 1986. Haase 2, 1986. Hohmeyer 1986, p. 250. Kipphoff 1986, p. 50. Rave 1+2, 1986. Red. 1, 1985. Red. 2, 1986. Red. 8-13, 1986. Red. 15, 1986. Red. 17-25, 1986. Red. 27+28, 1986. Schmid 1986. Spriestersbach 1986. Abeele 1987, p. 43. Antoni 1987, pp. 40, 42. Brockmann 1+3, 1987. Gibson 1, 1987, p. 5. Gibson 2, 1987, pp. 83-86, 105-106. Gibson 3, 1987, pp. 269-270. Gintz 1987. Hendelsalz 1987. Levy 1987, pp. 80-82. Rave 1987. Red. 2, 3+5, 1987. Schmid 1987. Schmidt-Wulffen 1, 1987, pp. 86-87. Welti 1987, pp. 62-65. Wichmann 1987. Drateln 1989, pp. 46-47. Göhring 1989. Red. 3, 1989. Schiff 2, 1989. Schmid 1989, pp. 32-33. Schneede 1989, p. 13. Red. 5, 1990. Red. 15, 1990. Drateln 1991, p. 21. Galloway 2, 1991, pp. 81, 87. Horch 1991. Koenneke 1991, p. 24. Madoff 1991, p. 119. Maranz 1991, p. 42. Pfütze 1991, pp. 89-92. Young 1991, p. 30. Albertazzi 1992, pp. 60-62. Endlich 1992, pp. 52, 56. Fleck 1, 1992, p. 53. Fleck 2, 1992, p. 104. Haase 1992, pp. 12-14. Jhering 1992, p. 95. Pejic 1992, p. 76. Saint-Cheron 1, 1992. Wulffen 1992, pp. 25-28. Cunoldi 1993, p. 29. Fleck 1993, p. 166. Glossner 1993. Passages 1993, pp. 36-37. Red. 23, 1993, p. 70. Rosen 2, 1993. Schmid 3, 1993, p. 8. Steinhauser 1993, pp. 105-112. The New York Times Magazine 1993, pp. 36-37. Bouyer 1994, p. 2. Ardenne 1994. Grasskamp 1994. Metken 1994, pp. 479-480. Omnibus 1994. Phillips 1994, p. 27. Raab 1994. Red 1994, pp. 192-194. Red. 3, 1994. Red. 23, 1994. Red. 24, 1994. Robin 1, 1994, p. 25. Salgas 1994. Limelight 1994, pp. 14 - 28. Albertazzi 1995, pp. 20-21. Art & Design 1995, Cover, p. 8. Barkadma 1995, p. 31. Fleck 1995, pp. 79-80. Haase 1, 1995. Kramer 1995, pp. 62-63. Ansel 1996. Mesnard 1996, p. 34. Red. 29, 1996. Asmuth 1, 1997. Baer-Bogenschütz 2, 1997. Crüwell 1997. Fischer 1+2, 1997. Haase 3, 1997. Henke 1+2, 1997. Huther 1-5, 1997. Rudel 1+2, 1997. Schneebeli 1997. Schossig 1997. Stöckmann 1997. Wagner 2, 1997. Young, 1997, pp. 859ff. This 1997/98, pp. 257ff. Young 1998, pp. 51ff. Pratiques. Réflexions sur l'art 6/1999, pp. 44-45. Guigues 2015, pp. 14-17. Rosen 2015. 

III: Schmidt-Wulffen 1987, pp. 318-321. Flügge 1993, p. 35. Lichtenstein 1993, p. 12. Koenneke 1994. Bouyer 1994, p. 2. Raab 1994. Raguez 1994, pp. 31-33. Abeele 1995, pp. 92-93. Könneke 1997. Lichtenstein/Waicman 1997, pp. 63ff. Mesnard 1997, p. 75. Young, 1997, pp. 860-863. Gagliano 2016, pp.160-161 

V: Jones 1988, pp. 39-40. Saarbrücken 1989, p. 27. Blümler 1989, p. 12. Krempel 1989, pp. 171-183. Klant 1990, p. 248. Spielmann 1991, pp. 21-22, 31. Deacon 1992, p. 21. Schulz 1992, pp. 81-84. Wolf 1992, pp. 76-78, 208. Deecke 1993, p. 193. Young 1993, pp. 28-37. Debicki 1995, p. 267. Heinrichs 1995, pp. 15-16. Hesse 1995, p. 44. Kunstamt Schöneberg 1995, p. 38. Reichel 1995, pp. 119-121. Reuße 1995, pp. 266-272. Thiele 1995, pp. 165-167. Fleck 1996, pp. 26-27. Midant 1996, p. 56. Clark 1997, pp. 121-123. Otto 1997. Staffa 1997, pp. 42-43. Petzel 1998, pp. 71-72. Thierry 1998, p. 43. Wajcman 1998, pp. 192ff. Young 2000 p.131. Endlich 2014. Widrich 2014 pp. 144-193. Frankowsky 2015, p. 27. Frechuret 2016, pp. 287-294. Manus/Vickery (eds) 2016, pp. 8, 10-11, 13-14, 17-18, 21,29, 57-58, 105-106, 116, 139-140, 147, 150. Winter 2017, p. 154. Debary 2017, 24, 87-94, 180-181. Langen-Wettengl 2017, pp. 74-85. 

VI: Hoffmann 1990, pp. 206-211. L’art en temps de crise 1994, pp. 152-153. Docquiert/Piron 1997, pp. 67-73, 80i. 

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz