In his installation created for SATELLIT, Martin Maleschka juxtaposes two iconographic artefacts of artistic work from the former East Germany (GDR) – one from his own private archive and one from the Beeskow Art Archive.
From Maleschka’s own collection are elements from a modular pendant light system that was installed in numerous cultural institutions of the GDR, and became well known through its almost excessive use in the foyer of the former Palace of the Republic in Berlin. The system was designed in 1974 by Peter Rockel, who was inspired by the “Lichtsystem 2000” developed by the West German company Kinkeldey.
From the Beeskow Art Archive, which preserves, exhibits, and conducts research on 17,000 works of art created during the GDR in its 40 years of existence, Maleschka has selected three parts (from a total of 16) from the mural “Proletarians of All Countries Unite!” by Willi Sitte. Sitte is regarded as one of the most important artists from the GDR who were loyal to the state. He created the mural, 5 x 9 meters in size, for the Karl Marx SED Party School in Berlin in 1979.
While the user-oriented lighting system has an almost timeless design, Sitte’s monumental painting, which was dismantled immediately after German reunification, testifies to the transience of politically oriented art. The juxtaposition staged by Maleschka underscores the temporal relevance of politically oriented artworks. At the same time, the installation advocates a view of the essentials that is free from ideological ballast. The broad scope for interpretation it offers, spanning artistic and cultural political significance against the backdrop of social change, is reflected not least in the location of the installation itself: the legendary Karl-Marx-Allee (called “Stalinallee” from 1949 to 1961).
Martin Maleschka studied architecture at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. The focus of his work as a photographer, documentarist, and chronicler of the “Ostmoderne” (East German modernism) is the architecture-related art of the GDR. In 2019, DOM Publishers released his widely acclaimed book DDR. Baubezogene Kunst – Kunst im öffentlichen Raum 1950 bis 1990 (GDR. Architecture-Related Art – Art in the Public Space from 1950 to 1990), which is the first comprehensive presentation on this subject.