Magazine article Art Monthly

Cold War Latest

Magazine article Art Monthly

Cold War Latest

Article excerpt

The re-enactments boom shows no sign of stopping. Vivienne Gaskin of the ICA has fed the appetite for it over the past few years, from Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard's re-enactment of a Cramps concert to Jo Mitchell's reconstruction of Concerto for Voice and Machinery by Einsturzende Neubaten earlier this year. Artist S Mark Gubb's latest work, The Death of Peter Fechter, revisited an episode from August 1962, early in the life of the Berlin wall, when two teenagers, Peter Fechter and Helmut Kulbeik, jumped from a ground-floor window on Zimmerstrasse in East Berlin into the 'death strip'. Ignoring orders from the GDR guards to stop, they reached the wall. Kulbeik made it over, but Fechter was shot several times in the back and abdomen. He lay wounded a few yards from the wall pleading to the guards for help. There were struggles and protests from civilians on either side of the wall who attempted to intervene, but an hour later he died. Forty-five years on from these events, Gubb marked the incident, without explaining why, by recreating a section of the wall, employing performers dressed in GDR and American military uniforms, and invited an audience to observe the events as they had been observed and documented. The hour, within which Peter Fechter died again, included actions from performers who called on the audience to protest at the situation, shouting 'what would you do if that was your brother?' and 'let's all try and push through at the same time, they can't kill us all'. …

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