Some texts are currently available in German only. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Thu 31 May - Sun 2 September 2012
The terrace of the Neue Nationalgalerie became the setting for Martin Gostner's installation "Der Erker der blauen Pferde" (The Oriel of the Blue Horses) on
May 31, 2012. This represents the seventh work developed in Gostner's Erker project since 2001, and- after establishing oriels in California, Vienna, Berlin
and other places-this is a new location where Gostner questions coincidence and history.
The starting point for the project made in situ, which is meant to be discovered by visitors to the Neue Nationalgalerie's outside area, is Franz Marc's painting "Der Turm der blauen Pferde" (The Tower of Blue Horses) from 1913. This masterpiece of German Expressionism was purchased in 1919 by Ludwig Justi, the director of the Nationalgalerie, and was part of the museum's collection until its confiscation by the National Socialists in 1937. The painting is deemed to be missing since the end of World War II, although there were various sightings of it in Berlin-Zehlendorf until 1949. Assumptions that "The Tower of Blue Horses" might be stored in a safe at a Swiss bank could
never be confirmed. It is unknown, whether this painting, which was banned as "degenerate" during the Nazi period, was destroyed or whether it continues to be stored as war loot in a secret location.
On the basis of an "intellectual concept" which Martin Gostner calls Erkerkultur (oriel culture), the artist takes the disappearance of the work resulting from the National Socialist cultural policy as an opportunity to confront pressing questions about the whereabouts of the painting, but also to deal with possibilities of a subjective approach and the sudden discovery of history: Was the painting destroyed? Does it still exist as war loot? How might a "sign of life" of the painting appear? What traces would the four blue horses leave behind? And what might be a signal from the horses to the present owners?
As an architectural hybrid format the oriel offers Martin Gostner the framework for an investigation of these particular questions, thereby creating independent
links between the history of images, locality, free artistic interpretation and visitor reception. Inspired by Josef Kyselak (1799 - 1831), an Austrian
mountaineer and court treasury clerk, who is now regarded as a precursor of modern day graffiti for leaving his name in public places, Gostner is concerned
with developing an independent mode, in which the viewer is immediately confronted with artistic outlooks and cultural insights-a pursuit that Gostner
manifests in the figure of the oriel. For Gostner, the oriel becomes not only an interface on which the personal and cultural unite on the basis of past and
present, but also the place in which a process-related interplay of public and private views comes into being.
In order to ensure this multilayered dialogue, the construction of the oriels-which are a reflection of the genius loci for Martin Gostner-takes place in
secret. Accordingly, no additional information is attached to the location of the oriel. The circulation of information first occurs on the day of its clandestine installation.
The oriels are always site-specific works, which cannot be translocated.