Visit to RICHTFEST by Gerrit Engel

August 6, 2015, 2 pm

Many thanks to the gallery manager Meggie Jaworski introducing our participants to the history of the Palace of the Republic and guiding us through the exhibition “Richtfest” by Gerrit Engel at Sexauer Gallery.

Exhibition Dates: June 16 – August 6, 2015
Location: Sexauer Gallery
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6 pm
Address: Streustr. 90, 13086 Berlin

Sexauer Gallery is very pleased to publicly display photographer Gerrit Engel’s series Palace for the first time worldwide.

Gerrit Engel was born in 1965 in Essen and studied architecture and photography in Munich and New York. He has had solo exhibitions, among others, in the Pinakothek der Moderne, Nuremberg’s Neues Museum and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, one of the most outstanding contemporary art museums in the United States.

Gerrit Engel was the only photographer who had access to the Palace of the Republic during its entire demolition. The result is a unique series of artistic photographs documenting the demolition from the first screw to the last grain of sand. This great work of art is simultaneously a unique document of the city’s history.

The Palace of the Republic was a building on Marx- Engels-Platz (from 1994 Schlossplatz) on the Spree Island in Berlin Mitte. It was built in 1973–1976 on the site of the former Berlin City Palace.

The Palace of the Republic was the seat of the People’s Chamber and hosted a large number of rooms for events. Following a decision of the German Bundestag in 2003, the palace was demolished from February 2006 to December 2008. The Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag discussed 880 objections to the demolition, all of which were rejected. Explosion was not an option because damage to surrounding buildings was feared given ground buoyancy and lowering the groundwater table. After completion of work, the basement pool was filled with sand. The area was planted as an interim solution until the reconstruction of the City Palace. The construction work for the City Palace began in March 2013. On June 12, 2013 German President Gauck laid the foundation. Two years later, on June 12, 2015, the roofing ceremony will be celebrated. On the same day the exhibition “Roofing Ceremony” at Sexauer opens.

In total 78,000 tons of building materials were removed. The steel of the base construction was melted down and sold to Dubai for the construction of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Additional steel was used by Volkswagen for the construction of engine blocks in the Golf VI.

“Gerrit Engel photographs are not modern but timeless.” (Freddy Langer, FAZ, December 3, 2009).