“Like motherhood or apple pie”: how East German public art and design has served the myth of a united Germany.

Jenkins, Jessica (2016) “Like motherhood or apple pie”: how East German public art and design has served the myth of a united Germany. [Conference] (Submitted)

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Abstract / Summary

“Like motherhood or apple pie”: how East German public art and design has served the myth of a united Germany.

In March 2011, a local councilor in the Saxony town of Plauen in the former East Germany, was invited to inspect a newly renovated primary school. Dismayed to discover the existence of a socialist realist mosaic which remained from the GDR era, Dr. Lutz Kowalzick, asked: “Does the town administration believe that it serves the basic free and democratic educational mission of the school to put on show symbols of a totalitarian organisation and state without commentary?”

Dr. Kowalzick’s outrage echoed the inflamed debates about East German art in the years following German reunification. However, most of those whose opinion was solicited by journalists on the topic of this remnant of East German socialism, offered more moderate responses. By 2011, a Socialist Realist mosaic in a primary school had become detached not only from its original political meaning, but also from the emotions of the early 1990s; Kowalzick, more than the mosaic, seemed out of step with the times.

The material heritage of East Germany, as a tangible reminder of a defunct society, has been central to intense¬ – and fiercely contested – efforts from the federal authorities to “design the past”, and public perception of it. This paper will argue that over the quarter century since the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, the fate of this heritage has played a proxy role in imagining the united Germany of the future. This has compelling implications for the role design heritage has to play in the imaginary of nationhood.

Item Type: Conference
Additional Information: A book proposal has been submitted to Bloomsbury based on the Design and Time conference/ My paper is to be included. The editors are from Middlesex University. The outline is now in the process of being peer reviewed.
Subjects: Arts > Architecture
Arts > Decorative Art
History
Arts > Historical
Arts > Landscape & Area Planning
Courses by Department: The School of Communication Design > Graphic Design
Depositing User: Jessica Jenkins
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2017 09:42
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 11:59
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/1986

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