Keeping an Eye on Berlin, Looking to the Future6
Installation, Palast der Republik, Schlossplatz, Berlin, 1997
Keeping an Eye on Berlin: Looking to the Future, completed in 1997, was the first artwork to be realized at the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic), since August 1990, when the “Volkskammer” decided in this building about the treaty of the German reunification. The Palast der Republik in Berlin was the seat of the parliament of the German Democratic Republic, and known as the People's Chamber.
In 1997 I placed the 3.5 meter blue eye in the exact circle, where the national emblem of the German Democratic Republic (hammer and compass, surrounded by a ring of rye) had been located on the Palast der Republik. My artwork was interpreted by many as the “eye of the building” or the “eye of the people” and by others as the “blue eye”. The artwork happened concurrent with fervent debates over the future of the Palast der Republik and the future of Marx-Engels-Platz (Marx-Engels Square) or Schloßplatz (Palace Square) onto which the eye and the people were looking. This site and its future continue to be a point of controversy in a united Germany.
A number of Berlin public institutions and two German Federal Ministries assisted me in organizing approval and suggesting sponsorship. The German Federal Ministry of Finance approved the artwork. The project was strongly supported by Dr. Lothar Spaeth, former minister-president of Baden-Württemberg, at the time Chairman Jenoptic. Sponsorship by Jenoptic AG and Krone AG, was an artistically very welcoming partnership particularly by Jenoptic, a company that shared understanding of “will to art”.7