Reviews of 1000 Years of Art and History
no-image, Reviews of 1000 Years of Art and History
German dailies take up the themes and concerns, the triumphs and tragedies of 1000 Years of Art and History through the Side by Side exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. There are painful moments in the collection, with controversial pieces such as Artur Żmijewski's game of tag in a gas chamber demonstrating a darker side to border relations.
German dailies take up the themes and concerns, the triumphs and tragedies of 1000 Years of Art and History through the Side by Side exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin
The exhibition draws its strength from the determination of Emperor Otto III in taking up a pilgrimage to Gniezno and arranging the marriage his niece with Mieszko the second, the heir to the Polish throne and establishing the position of Roman Catholicism in the region. Then there was the lavish wedding between George the Rich and the Polish Princess Hedwig in 1475. Later centuries weren't quite so festive or friendly, with the Battles of Tannenberg / Grunwald in the 15th century and Hitler's defeat in World War II among the most bitter memories in the history of not-so-neighbourly relations between the two. And yet, Germany and Poland have embarked on a more amicable interaction in recent years, and the Side by Side exhibition at Berlin's Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau trails this history through arts and culture. There are painful moments in the collection, with controversial pieces such as Artur Żmijewski's game of tag in a gas chamber demonstrating a darker side to border relations.
The online edition of Welt gives its view of the complex facts and feelings behind the exhibition:
Friends you can choose and often even enemies, but never neighbors. Those who live next door to one another must make do with one another - and make each other's lives hell. That shows a hundred years of extremely difficult German-Polish relations between the two associations of Germany in 1871 and 1990.
Tensions grew through nationalism and oppression of minorities, led to mutual territorial claims, occupation, rape, mass murder, including flight and expulsion. The confrontation of the Cold War could be due not previously restored temporarily close relations between Western and Eastern Central Europe after 1945, long time. Overcome this gap is more than two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain not, even though Poland is a full member of EU.
German daily Der Taggespiegel asks "So what is the common, unifying in the culture and history of both nations?" It looks to Anda Rottenberg, exhibition curator and expert on contemporary Polish art to seam together the "solidarity of thinkers, artists - and kings". Rottenberg sums it up with a single statement: "In the first 800 of 1000 years of German-Polish history, Europe was a place where you did not speak of Nations: a model that now appears desirable again".
German President Christian Wulff and Polish President Bronisław Komorowski were in attendance at the opening on the 21st of October, 2011. President Wulff expressed his hope that the "exhibition will help to understand our shared cultural and intellectual history better, and give us an important impetus for the future". The exhibition takes an optimistic look at those early relations, facing the stark truth of recent tragedies and encouraging a fresh approach to German-Polish relations.
See the full reviews online at www.tagesspiegel.de and www.bundesregierung.de
See more on Side by Side. Poland - Germany. 1000 years of Art and History
See more on the removal of Żmijewski's "Tag" from the exhibition