Public Lecture

Experiences in the Creation of the Square of the European Promise

Essen – 25 September 2014

To break the boundary between artist and audience and redefine the relationship between art, democracy and participation - that is the goal of Jochen Gerz. On September 25, the concept artists was at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) to discuss with Claus Leggewie and the audience about his current project in Bochum "Square of the European Promise". Gerz, who was invited by Volker Heins in collaboration with Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, is known in Germany mainly through spectacular installations in public spaces.

These include the Monument Against Fascism in Hamburg designed together with Esther Shalev, the Monument Against Racism in Saarbrücken, or the Fundamental Rights Square in Karlsruhe. After a lecture on his artwork in Bochum Gerz discussed with the audience about the role of art in public space: How deals the artist with the fact that his works are not "safe" placed at the museum, but just in the public and thus exposed to the interplay of the politics of the day? Gerz made it clear that he takes this issue very seriously. In Graz, for example, the FPÖ has decided against the resistance of the population, to dismantle the NS-memorial stones of his project "63 years later". Nevertheless, the artist sees no alternative in the withdrawal of art from the public: "That would be even nicer if the art would just bob around." Especially with the experience of the Square of the European Promise in Bochum the fascination of the artist and the audience was palpable, which takes the idea to capture thousands of names of the living in a public, busy place. The thought of the "in stone-carved" names automatically impose the projection into the future. They will still stand there, if those who have given Europe its secret promise here, will not live anymore. In the end, the question remained, what will then has become of Europe.

Time: 19.00–20.30 h
Venue: Gaartensaal, KWI, Goethestr. 31, 45128 Essen