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This is how artists respond to Chemnitz

This is how artists respond to Chemnitz

Actually this show was planned in the spring of 2019, now everything goes very fast: next week, the artist Mario Pfeifer travels to Chemnitz to build two of his works. The video entitled "Again" and "About Fear and Education" will be shown in the Urban Art Collections at Theaterplein from October. An exact date has not yet been recorded – everything has started in the short term.

The fact that the museum has made its plans upset has to do with the events of the past two weeks. After the violent death of a chemnitzer, there were demonstrations with the right background, counter-demonstrations and solidarity concerts. There is currently uncertainty in Chemnitz and there is a lot to talk about, says Frédéric Bußmann, director general of the art collections. You want to start there. "We want to create a dialogue about art."

The impulse is given by Mario Pfeifer. Born in 1981 in Dresden, the artist now lives in Berlin and New York, his work is shown at many major exhibitions and festivals, most recently at the Berlin Biennale. Because of his work, Pfeifer always returns to Saxony and continues working on "Again". In the film he devoted himself two years ago to an incident in Arnsdorf, Saxony. At that time, four men had dragged a refugee after a row at a supermarket in the village and tied to a tree. The refugee has since died. Against the four men had been established on suspicion of deprivation of liberty. However, the competent judge had terminated the proceedings from the beginning and justified it with the nullity of the penalties in the event of a judgment. Pfeifer has the scene re-enacted in the supermarket. In addition, actress Dennenesch Zoudé and actor Mark Waschke ask questions about self-justice and moral courage. The result is a kind of procedural processing of the Arnsdorf case.

In the second video – full title: "About fear and education, disappointment and justice, protest and division in Saxony" – nine people speak, including a co-founder of Pegida, a mayor and an Islam critic. All get the same questions and get the same time to answer. The result is a nine-hour conversation documentary. "Watching means thinking along" – so the invitation in the accompanying text.

The exhibition will be accompanied by podium discussions and lectures, CEO Bußmann said. "We do not want to patronize anyone, but talk about fears, understand the different positions and so perhaps reduce fears." Bußmann is aware that this will not be easy. To support them, you will probably get mediators on board, he says.

Already on Thursday this week, with permission from the city, an installation "The wolves are back" of ten brilliant wolves of larger than lives will be shown in the Marx monument. "I want to protest against the action against growing hatred and against violence," says the artist Rainer Opolka from Brandenburg. With the installation he was already in Dresden in the Frauenkirche, in Berlin at the main station, but also in Munich in the NSU lawsuit. Due to the events of the past few weeks in Chemnitz, but also in Köthen, his subject has been updated according to Opolka. "Five wolves show the Hitler salute, an attack, others have blindfolds and are – still – on the line, on the edge of fellow travelers", he explains the composition. "If it does not come to everyone's dialogue, there is a spiral of escalating struggle in society," Opolka fears. "We need solutions for the fear and hot fever that has hit our country and solutions for hatred and violence."