The Tower of Marzahn

 

In order to solve the housing shortage in East-Berlin, the former capital of the GDR, the district of Marzahn was built up on the eastern periphery of Berlin from 1977 to the end of 1980. At that time, it was the largest state housing project built by industrialized shapes and walls (Plattenbau) in Europe. Not only the apartments were equipped with bathrooms and heating, but also the surrounding areas were in the midst of extensive green commons, kindergartens and schools, all in the immediate vicinity which made living in Marzahn (under the communist regime) extremely popular. The art gallery was planned from the beginning on in the central square of the new district). The gallery opened in 1988 in the immediate vicinity of a large service complex, a post office and a department store.

Today the Eastgate shopping mall lays opposite of it, and only Galerie M remains of the former urban ensemble.  (now, 2024, the gallery has been demolished). Contrary to some media articles, Marzahn is not a social hotspot in the city of Berlin today. The majority of the complex with around 100,000 apartments have already been renovated. A striking amount of green zones but also numerous artistic interventions, in large part from the times when it was built, characterize this urban neighbourhood.

The municipal gallery M in the Marzahn Hellersdorf district offers a special concept tailored to the specific location: the works of the exhibiting artists address the urban space in all its aspects, including subjects of architecture, sociology, philosophy and politics.

Susanne Kessler’s exhibition “Baustelle Zeichnung” (Construction Site: Drawing) takes the gallery’s special urban situation in various ways into account. She uses the possibilities of the glazed gallery roof to include the surrounding architecture as a contrasting backdrop for her tower construction, which reaches 12 m high. She takes up architectural elements from the surroundings and processes them in the main installation, but also in small enclosed models in Perspex boxes and in a large-scale wall work. Gallery visitors can discover familiar patterns of the surrounding architecture and get involved in diving into unfamiliar but exciting realms full of surprises.

 

Text for the catalog of the exhibition “Susanne Kessler – Construction Site Drawing” in the Galerie M, Berlin Marzahn, 2010

 

Project: The Tower of Marzahn