Magazine article Artforum International

Lars Ramberg: Palast der Republik

Magazine article Artforum International

Lars Ramberg: Palast der Republik

Article excerpt

It's hard to miss Lars Ramberg's Palast des Zweifels (Palace of Doubt), 2005. The word ZWEIFEL (doubt)--written in three-story-tall letters sculpted in aluminum and filled with white neon-tube lighting--glows from atop the empty Palast der Republik, which is due to be demolished this fall. The former East German parliament building--and a civic-cum-entertainment center offering restaurants and bowling--was closed due to asbestos in September 1990, just weeks after what was touted as the GDR's first freely elected government voted to join the Federal Republic. When the Palast reopened as a gutted yet asbestos-free shell in 2003, tickets for tours rapidly sold out, although there was little left to see inside. The building's persistent popularity led to a series of concerts, talks, and exhibitions--notably those organized by Volkspalast (People's Palace)--as an attempt to reclaim the communal project of socialism, minus the dictatorial state apparatus.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ramberg's sign of doubt initially functions as a temporary monument to the history of hesitations that have surrounded the building's fate since 1990. Should the palace be demolished or not? Does it have symbolic value as history or use value for the present? In light of these debates, it should come as no surprise that it took Ramberg six years to realize his project. Like Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who wrapped the Reichstag before its renovations began in 1995, Ramberg had to overcome a mountain of bureaucratic resistance from state officials, including a veto from the federal advisor for culture, Christina Weiss, who went against the Berlin Senate's approval for the project in 2003.

The sign's super size--while a press attraction--makes a sly comment on the vast sums spent in the name of stately representations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.