Fifty years ago, Potsdam-born artist Chris Reinecke wrote the words “Schutz gegen Anfassen” (“Protection Against Touching”) on a piece of denim fabric. At the time this could be read as a response to sexism and a satirical commentary on the treatment of art. Now, as part of the group show 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1 Art. 8 GG Versammlungsfreiheit, the piece has taken on a new meaning, bringing to mind current coronavirus restrictions that discourage human contact. The question of how people can overcome distance is a regular theme in the 21 works that feature in the exhibition, which sees 14 artists contend with the issue of the right to assembly – whether on a large or a small scale, private or public. The venue for these works is Potsdam’s Villa Schöningen, a building which was commissioned by King Frederick William IV who – as it happens – enshrined freedom of assembly in the Prussian constitution in 1848. Some of the artists – like Marcel Odenbach – address German reunification while others – like painter Marion Fink – reflect on the walls within our own minds. If you want to take your own journey into Germany’s past, you can add on a walk taking you from the Villa along Schwanenallee, once a GDR border area. At least here, as you walk towards the Neuen Garten and the Heiligen See, the title of Jörg Immendorff’s epochal painting from the show rings true: “Alles gut”.
Text: Laura Storfner / Photos: Noshe, 2013 & 2020 / Credit: Anna Ehrenstein, Real Thomas Metzinger, 2019 © Villa Schöningen, courtesy of the artist and Office Impart & Fort, The Visit, 2019 © Villa Schöningen, courtesy of the artist and Sies+Höke