Speak, Memory: Esther Da Costa Meyer on Peter Eisenman's Holocaust Memorial
Da Costa Meyer, Esther, Artforum International
WAGING WAR ON FORGETTING is the task of all memorials, which are places where different kinds of memory and concepts of representation collide. In contemporary Berlin, the politics of memory are particularly vexed. Since the end of the cold war Berlin has tried, with varying degrees of success, to knit its divided halves together and reconnect with its past--or parts of it. Out of the rubble of war and discarded ideologies, the German capital has reestablished the old city center around the stately Unter den Linden, displacing the hubs of East and West Berlin from Alexanderplatz and Kurfurstendamm, respectively. Political, economic, and cultural considerations have dictated various strategies of reconstruction. Norman Foster's glass dome, a somewhat strained metaphor for transparency, now crowns the Reichstag; commercial areas such as Friedrichstrasse, Potsdamer Platz, and, to a lesser extent, Pariser Platz have been rebuilt with modern structures along the old street pattern; and funds are being raised to erect simulacra of landmarks such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel's Bauakademie (Academy of Architecture) and Andreas Schluter's Stadtschloss (City Palace), both demolished after the war.
Peter Eisenman's Denkmal fur die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe), inaugurated on May 10, 2005, disrupts the seamlessness of this historicizing project and the intellectual fretwork that subtends it, a point made clear by the two names by which the project is known--the official designation, Denkmal (memorial), and the title commonly used by the public, Mahnmal (warning). The five-acre field of stark concrete stelae stands at the very heart of the emblematic area adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate, a short …
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Publication information: Article title: Speak, Memory: Esther Da Costa Meyer on Peter Eisenman's Holocaust Memorial. Contributors: Da Costa Meyer, Esther - Author. Magazine title: Artforum International. Volume: 44. Issue: 5 Publication date: January 2006. Page number: 47+. © 1999 Artforum International Magazine, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
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