Artwork Detail

German, b. 1963
Installation consisting of one glass dispenser filled with printed handkerchiefs and 4 photographs mounted on Aludibond
112 x 55 13/16 x 1 1/4 " (each screen)
University purchase with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Morton D. May, by exchange, 2002
WU 2002.0004
Franz Ackermann’s multipart installation draws upon the rapidly transforming urban geography of Berlin following the fall of the Berlin Wall and constitutes part of the artist’s ongoing investigation into how globalization, urbanism, and tourism affect the ways we engage with place and space. The title’s literal meaning, “the power or claim of two parties over one space,” points to the Cold War period in German history (1945–89), when architecture physically represented Berlin’s political division. Ackermann’s large printed screens display photographs of historical plans of the city, existing architecture, and models for the new Berlin. These images are set within an ornamental pattern that is based on an architectural motif found in entrances to apartment buildings in Berlin from the turn of the twentieth century, creating a historically incongruous context for the photographs and metaphorically linking these visual markers of the city’s urban transition and growth in a complex network of temporal layers and spatial correspondences. The glass dispenser at the center of Ackermann’s built environment contains colorful handkerchiefs onto which details of Berlin city maps are hand-printed. Visitors are encouraged to hold and examine the maps and to imagine the city’s intangible urban geography as if they were “tourists” in an ever-changing and expanding postmodern metropolis. [Exhibition brochure text, 2013]