Located between the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Peter Eisenman, the designer of this memorial, created a plan that would consists of the Field of Stelae standing on 4.7-acre site. This Field of Stalae, consist of 2,711 concrete slabs, which are 7’10” long and 3’1” wide but vary in height (8” to 15’9”). Eisenman wanted to create a design that would produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere aiming to “represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason”. As the viewer begins to move through the piece, they begin to see that these tall structures are placed on a sloping ground. The combination of the growing evenly placed slabs on a slopping field certainly contributes to the an anxious feeling one can get when entering this site.
For more information on this memorial: http://www.stiftung-denkmal.de/en/memorials/the-memorial-to-the-murdered-jews-of-europe/history.html#c957
Part of the Jewish Museum is this sculptural piece called the Garden of Exile. There are 49 columns each of which stands vertically and holds a olive willow growing out of the top. There is no markings, no carvings just solid columns creating a square. The forms stretch high but walking through the piece you understand the influence a slanting floor has on the overall installation and experience. It is a beautiful piece but can create a strange feeling. Standing among the solid blocks you realize just how small you are as they tower over you.
Walking around Berlin if you look down at the cobblestone sidewalks you can discover a lot. One of the first things that was pointed out to me was the tiny brass plate that laid among the cobblestone.
These brass plates sat outside of different buildings but not all of them, or even within sight of each other. The squares were part of artist GunterDemnig’s piece was called “Stolpersteine,” or stumbling stones. These were the markers, a memorial in front of the homes of people who were killed during the Holocaust. Each holds information of the person who resided in the house: Their name,birth year, date of capture, camp taken to, and death (if found). In Berlin, about 55,000 people were taken and killed in the Holocaust, there are some 2,800 brass tiles marking the dead in various parts of the city.
In 1996, Demnig placed is his brass plaque illegally in Berlin. What started as an independent art project has now become something of a social movement. Though this idea started in Berlin Demnig has legally installed this stumbling stones in various cities.
“The victims get back a piece of their identity and at the same time, every personal stone is also meant as a symbol for the entirety of all victims…”
“It’s a social sculpture and if you look at it as a whole, it is the biggest art monument in the world.”
As I continue to walk throughout Berlin I find myself trying to spot these small brass plates.
Check out this project and learn more about it www.stolpersteine.com