The 14th of September, on the eve of Berlin Art week, will see the inauguration of Atelier Van Lieshout’s equestrian statue “The Monument” in the Kolonnadenhöfen at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. This public, site-specific artwork, executed in bronze, will be on display on the Museumsinsel for the next two years. The Monument is a clear reference to classical equestrian monuments, and to the political, military, and representative function of such statues. This reference sets up a critical and reflexive level in relation to the nearby equestrian statue of Frederick William IV of Prussia (Alexander Calandrelli, 1875-86), directly in front of the Alte Nationalgalerie.
The artwork by Atelier Van Lieshout formulates an unmistakable comment on German Empire’s social and political past in the years before WWI. The figurative and visual language of the work should also be read as a warning signal, however, directed towards the present and future.
The juxtaposition of Atelier Van Lieshout’s work with the sculptures and monuments in front of the Alte Nationalgalerie is meant to serve as a challenge, signifying the differentiated treatment of a common cultural heritage. This project goes beyond the museum’s tasks to preserve and mediate such a heritage. It encourages a new perspective necessary for a critical reconsideration of history.
Since 2010, the Nationalgalerie has been pursuing an ambitious, ongoing project that allows contemporary works by international artists to confront the history of the Alte Nationalgalerie and its representative sculpture collection in critical dialogue.
This project series on the role of representative monuments in contemporary sculpture began with a futuristic interpretation by the German artist Jonathan Meese (*1970), who showed his work “Die Humpty-Dumpty-Maschine der totalen Zukunft” here until recently.
Opening: September 14, 2015, 6pm
This project was realized with the support of the Dutch Embassy in Berlin and the Mondriaan Fund as well as with private support.