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The Architectural Heritage of Socialist Realism in Warsaw and Berlin. MDM / KMA

Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin: mosaic surrounding a  School House, photo by Tomasz Kubaczyk / DSH
Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin: mosaic surrounding a  School House, photo by Tomasz Kubaczyk / DSH

Celebrating 20 years of partnership between Warsaw and Berlin, the international exhibition "The Architectural Heritage of Socialist Realism in Warsaw and Berlin. The Marszałkowska Residential District - Karl-Marx-Alee" opens on the 28th of September at the Open Air Gallery of the History Meeting House at Twardowski Square in Warsaw

Following a successful reception at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, the exhibition arrives in Warsaw to present two major developments of socialist urban planning, that is the Marszałkowska Residential District (MDM) in Warsaw and Karl-Marx-Alee(KMA) in Berlin. These two developments became the hallmarks of the reconstruction of Warsaw and East Berlin after World War II and exemplary achievements of Socialist Realism in this part of Europe. Several dozen archive and contemporary photographs feature the concepts of urban layout, examples of the most important buildings, architectural details and sculptures, while the labels to the photographs place them in the historical, political and social context in which these two developments were created and functioned.

"Socialist Realism, which was the mandatory style in almost all socialist states in the period from 1948 to 1955, defined specific rules applying to both urban planning as well as architecture. Using simple and easily understood signs, art was to influence the collective consciousness of the people, and be the carrier of ideology. The leading slogan read "national in form and socialist in meaning". The presentation of two developments: the Marszałkowska Residential District in Warsaw and Karl-Marx-Alee in Berlin makes it possible to notice the influence of socialist realist doctrine on urban planning and architecture of both urban concepts. Monumentalism, axis layout, symmetry of the composition, rescaled proportions, free multiplication and combination of various historical models within one single project as well as the explicit form leave no doubt as to the meaning", says Maria Wojtysiak, the author of the concept and layout of the exhibition.

The exhibition was prepared as part of the cultural programme of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, 20 years of partnership between Warsaw and Berlin and the 20th anniversary of signing "The Treaty of Good Neighbourhood and Friendly Cooperation Between the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany". It marks yet another stage of the project "The Identity of the City. Modernism and Anti-modernism in Post-war Cultural Heritage" initiated by the Office of the City of Warsaw Historical Monuments Conservation Department and the Berlin City and Land Conservation Office.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of events organised during the 30th of September through to the 2nd of October 2011 by the History Meeting House under the slogan "Socialist Realism. The Stage Design of Power" which includes discussion sessions with experts (historians of Warsaw, architects, historians and art historians, journalists and sociologists), guided walks around Muranów and MDM districts, virtual multimedia walks and film screening.

"The Architectural Heritage of Socialist Realism in Warsaw and Berlin. The Marszałkowska Residential District – Karl-Marx-Alee" exhibition is on display from the 28th of September to the 27th of November 2011.

Open Air Gallery of the History Meeting House
ul. 20 Karowa

Preview: 28 September 2011 at 18:00. Ul. 20 Karowa, Warsaw.

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