Magazine article Artforum International

Raffael Rheinsberg

Magazine article Artforum International

Raffael Rheinsberg

Article excerpt

KUNSTHALLE

A few months ago, when Raffael Rheinsberg flew a German flag at half mast in th Swedish city of Visby, German tourists saw their carefree vacation moods and their feelings of national pride being com-promised. With the intervention of the German consul, Rheinsberg's social sculpture had to be moved to a less visible location. In the meantime a Swedish collector placed this Fahne fur Deutschland (Flag for Germany, 1993) in his front garden.

The small retrospective of seven of Rheinsberg's works dealt with the disappearance and negation of the values of the former German Democratic Republic. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, this subject has occupied Rheinsberg almost exclusively; he has followed the traces of a deteriorating society, and exhibited objects that document what he has found. Orient und Okzident (East and West, 1993) was one of the most impressive works here: 28 massive copper kettles, used for the production of chocolate, were juxtaposed With 28 covers from air-raid sirens. Each kettle was unique, of a particular color, distinct in size and form from the others, and if one touched them even gently, they produced a deep and powerful sound. On the edges of the kettles there were layers of chocolate that gave off a strong smell. The siren covers, on the other hand, appeared to be machine-produced; in contrast to the kettles, they were uniform, undelineated, and seemed to function almost as a platoon of soldiers. This contrast marked the contradictions and oppositions that Rheinsberg discovered in the former GDR. …

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