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Alumni News |
Oct, 2014

SONYA SCHÖNBERGER – KEY DELIVERY @ ADN PFÖRTNERHAUS / LOS ANGELES

Pförtnerhaus
Pförtnerhaus

Sonya Schönberger’s work KEY DELIVERY for the ADN Pförtnerhaus symbolically reflects the power and influence of the gatekeeper within a system of absolute control. Simultaneously, her installation visualizes the loss of power and control following the disintegration of a political system. Placed in the East German ADN Guardhouse in Los Angeles at 5900 Wilshire Boulevard, the work consisting of around 2000 keys once belonging to barracks of the People`s Police (Volkspolizei) becomes as decontextualized as their container. There is no one left to handle them, remnants of a past they won’t be able to disclose.

ADN GUARDHOUSE

After a twelve-month long exhibition series in Berlin, the ADN Pförtnerhaus, a project initiated and curated by Berlin artist Christof Zwiener, is traveling to Los Angeles for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The guardhouse will be on view in various locations throughout Los Angeles county for an additional two months curated by Zwiener, in cooperation with the Wende Museum in Culver City. The ADN Pförtnerhaus project will conclude with the ceremonial transfer of the former East German guardhouse to the Wende Museum where it will reside on permanent loan in the Wende’s sculpture garden.

From 1971 until its closing in 1992, the headquarters of the General German News Service (ADN) of East Germany in the precinct Berlin-Mitte (Mollstraße, on the corner of Karl-Liebknecht-Straße) was guarded by a gatekeeper who monitored the entrance to and exit from the parking lot. His base was a two-square-meter guardhouse, purposefully fashioned in a typically stark East German design. Mass produced starting in the 1970s, these aluminum shacks were positioned in front of or behind every government agency and ministry in East Berlin, in order to monitor people with or without vehicles. At the same time these standard control stations were used for mass surveillance of public spaces in East Berlin as well as for monitoring border crossings.

When the former ADN building was sold to an investor in 2012, the guardhouse was slated for destruction. With the acquisition of the guardhouse and the beginning of the and Pförtnerhaus project in June 2013, the artist Christof Zwiener saved the only remaining GDR monitoring station in the public space of East Berlin from destruction and eventual disappearance. On the former grounds of the motor pool of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in Lichtenberg on Herzbergstraße, the guardhouse found a new home in September 2013. There the guardhouse was made available as a temporary exhibition space for 10 invited artists who engaged with themes including the legacy of the GDR, state surveillance in general, public space in Berlin and its constant transformation.

The exhibition series in Los Angeles will further this discourse. International artists including Bernd Trasberger, Sonya Schönberger and Friedrich Kunath will grapple with the consequences of social and political changes, working together with Christof Zwiener. Finally, in the new sculpture park of the Wende Museum on the former grounds of the National Guard Armory in Culver City, the ADN Pförtnerhaus will take its place as an independent installation.

The ADN Pförtnerhaus is a project of the artist Christof Zwiener, with the generous support of the Wende Museum, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Villa Aurora, El Segundo Museum of Art (ESMoA), the cities of Los Angeles, El Segundo and Culver City.

Exhibition KEY DELIVERY from October 9 until October 15

Further information about the history, the current and past exhibitions of the ADN Pförtnerhaus

can be found under http://www.adn-pfoertnerhaus.de.

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