Hans Haacke Transforms the Construction Fence for the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts


Hans Haacke has just transformed the construction fence for the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts into an art project in public space. Haacke’s work Wir (alle) sind das Volk [We (All) Are the People] can be seen from May to October 2021 along the construction site for the Nationalgalerie’s new building.

The construction fence around the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts ‒ a new structure, designed by Herzog & de Meuron on the Kulturforum in Berlin ‒ will be presented with changing artistic and graphic designs in the coming years. The Nationalgalerie is launching its “Art on the Construction Fence” project with this work by artist Hans Haacke ‒ a sign for an open, culturally diverse and tolerant society.

The Work Wir (alle) sind das Volk

The intervention has been shown in different cities around the world since 2003, adapted in each case to the specific location: mounted on the façades of cultural institutions or on urban architecture, such as bus stops and phone booths. The languages choosen for each particular version reflect the composition of the migrant and refugee community within the local population. The languages included in the current construction fence in Berlin are Arabic, Bulgarian, German, English, Farsi (Dari), French, Croatian, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Tigrinya (the language of Ethiopia/Eritrea), and Turkish. Haacke enhanced his documenta version with a current New York variant that reacts to the Black Lives Matter movement for the Berlin site.

Hans Haacke

Hans Haacke (b. 1936 in Cologne), a German artist who has lived for more than fifty years in New York, is known for his art of unwavering political critique. Haacke pinpoints and explores diverse visual means for representing national identity. Three of Hans Haacke’s early works are in the Nationalgalerie Collection ‒ small, model-like sculptures, which he calls “Real-Time Systems”: Les Couloirs de Marienbad (1962), Beengter Fluß (1965) and Kondensationswürfel (Condensation Cube, 1963-65).

More about the Nationalgalerie’s New Building

An overview of all the digital content related to the Nationalgalerie’s new building ‒ including video documentation on the restoration of Rebecca Horn’s and Anselm Kiefer’s works and further information about the architecture and the collection ‒ is now available online: www.nationalgalerie20.de