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Donation: “Statue of Liberty” by Elmgreen & Dragset from 21 June 2019 in the courtyard of Hamburger Bahnhof

Elmgreen & Dragset, Statue of Liberty, Detail, 2018, Originalstück der Berliner Mauer, Geldautomat, Edelstahl, 298 x 149 x 148 cm
Elmgreen & Dragset, Statue of Liberty, Detail, 2018, Originalstück der Berliner Mauer, Geldautomat, Edelstahl, 298 x 149 x 148 cm
Copyright: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, 2019 Schenkung von Heiner Wemhöner, Herford an die Stiftung des Vereins der Freunde der Nationalgalerie / die Künstler / Elmar Vestner

Donation: “Statue of Liberty” by Elmgreen & Dragset from 21 June 2019 in the courtyard of Hamburger Bahnhof

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

Nationalgalerie and Stiftung des Vereins der Freunde der Nationalgalerie are thrilled about the donation of a work by the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. “Statue of Liberty” will be on permanent display in the courtyard of Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin from June 21, 2019. We cordially invite you to join the inauguration of the sculpture in the courtyard of Hamburger Bahnhof at 6 pm.

Manhattan’s Statue of Liberty is regarded as a symbol of unlimited freedom. The monumental sculpture once welcomed migrants arriving on ships to the New World and quickly became an emblem of New York. The eponymous installation by the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset references its status as a popular tourist attraction. Their “Statue of Liberty” (2018), however, consists of a concrete segment of the Berlin Wall and an ATM. As a donation by the collector Heiner Wemhöner the sculpture will welcome the visitors of Hamburger Bahnhof from 21 June 2019.

Sculpture “Statue of Liberty” 

The sculpture initially results in a sharp, absurd image: a cash-dispensing device has been inserted into an opening of the Iron Curtain that once separated East and West Berlin. The paradoxical fusion of two objects representing two systems – capitalist West and communist East – raises questions about the current state of the city of Berlin and its development since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Wall formerly symbolized the Cold War and restrictions on individual freedom, while the parts of it still standing today often serve simply as backdrops for holiday snapshots. During the post-reunification period, Berlin was regarded as an immature city full of free spaces; this perception of freedom is however becoming ever rarer due to gentrification. There is also ever more commercialization and marketing aimed towards winning the money of international visitors, as evidenced by the many new cash machines located on the storefronts of independent traders in party districts.

Elmgreen & Dragset’s “Statue of Liberty” is a threefold work: a memorial to German separation, a monument recalling the lost time of infinite possibility directly after the fall of the Wall, and a warning about the selling off of history and the city.

Inauguration on 21 June 2019

The inauguration of Elmgreen & Dragset’s sculpture “Statue of Liberty” in the courtyard of Hamburger Bahnhof will take place on Friday, 21 June 2019, 6 pm. We cordially invite you to join us. Speakers are:

  • Udo Kittelmann, director of the Nationalgalerie
  • Heiner Wemhöner, Collection Wemhöner
  • Hans-Georg Oehlmann, Stiftung des Vereins der Freunde der Nationalgalerie für zeitgenössische Kunst
  • Elmgreen & Dragset, artists

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