Exhibition Proposal ‘German Landscape: a Second Generation Journey’

To create, through the juxtaposition of paintings, film, wall texts, sound pieces, gallery monitors, architectural model[s], with artifacts, ephemera and objects from the museum’s collection, an immersive experience which tells the story of youth, landscape and events which unfolded in Germany in the first half of the 20th century.

To collaborate in this venture with the Stadtmuseum curators and archivists, using the museum collections as a resource to develop and communicate a personal story for a general audience of all ages.

Exhibition Proposal:

A collaborative exhibition between artist Barbara Loftus and the curators and archivists of the Stadtmuseum Berlin.

The Theme:

A personal artistic interpretation of 20th century German cultural memory and ‘Landscape’.

The Exhibition Concept:

To convey my story, as the child of an exiled Berliner discovering, re-enacting and reconstructing her long-hidden family’s experience of ‘a time before I was born’.

Three distinct threads will be pursued.

The first, a prologue: Post-War, Post Memory

A snapshot of a memory from my own childhood, growing up in the war-weary urban landscape of London. Landscape is viewed through the imagination and in miniature, in the suburban garden and through fairytale and film.

The second: Youth

Evoked by my mother’s memories as a Berlin teenager, of the flowering of an idealistic German youth culture, the Wandervögel Youth Movement in the first half of the 20th century. My interpretation presents a pre-lapsarian vision of German Landscape.

The third: Fall

Moves from the personal to the historical and political as the youth movement was taken over and corrupted after 1933: the landscape emerges as a contested racial space to which as a Jew she was denied right of access, foreshadowing the catastrophe which would bring the wider landscape of Europe to ruins.

 

The story begins…

 

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  • Garden gnomes were first created in Germany in the 1840's. There was a resurgence in popularity in the 1930's after Disney's animated film of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
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  • Wandervögel waiting at Zoo station
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  • Railway map of Germany, 1923. 'History becomes space. It is walked; it is explored. As you move forward in reading the fabric or network, you perceive that this world, centred on the topography demolished by the Second World War, is growing ever darker, as if it were being consumed before your eyes. Twenty-first-century Europe becomes a network of paths and railway tracks in perpetual twilight.' “Sebald Variations” (2014), Jorge Carrión
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