Ausgleichsgewicht (Counterweight), Temporary site-specific intervention, 2023
Granite Sculpture & Poster
68cm x 47cm x 12cm & 104cm x 43cm

Invited by the project space BETON Berlin in cooperation with the Project Space Festival Berlin 2023, this work engages with an area of public space in Berlin-Friedrichshain and thematize its latent emptiness.

The temporary intervention for this site is directly linked to a kind of palpable and imposing absence and reflects on the spatial, social and historical background of the space and the connections to current urban development in Berlin. The site serves not only as a location and basis for his intervention, but is also a discursive space between past, present and future.

Formerly named Leninplatz, a colossal 19-meter tall monument of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin made of red Ukrainian granite once stood in the center and defined the space of what today is called United Nations Square in Berlin Germany. After the reunification of Germany and in the course of the debates over Lenin monuments in public space, the sculpture was removed from the list of city monuments, dismantled and buried in the forest on the outskirts of Berlin in 1992.

Sometime between 1992 and 1996 unidentified individuals broke off parts of the left ear of “Lenin“ and subsequently the location was once again fenced off. Years later in 2009 the decision was made to excavate the head of the Lenin Monument and since 2016 it is on display in the permanent exhibition “Unveiled: Berlin and its Monuments“ in the Citadel Spandau Berlin.

In 1992 Leninplatz was renamed to Platz der Vereinte Nationen (Square of the United Nations). In 1994 the square received its present design. In the place of the Lenin monument there is a fountain. It was designed by an employee of the Parks Department. On one side of the path lies the fountain made of heavy boulders from all corners of the world. The five largest stones symbolize the five inhabited continents. The stones are marked with their place of origin and weight. The heaviest one weighs 24 tons. The fountain built into the stones is defective. Up to now, there is no information about the square or its history.

The sculptural intervention reflects on the history of the square, the monument that once stood there and the latent emptiness that is felt at this location. The account of the missing piece of “’Lenin’s” left ear serves as the starting point for the intervention. The work consists of a granite sculpture placed on the former location of the monument and a poster pasted to a sign explaining the historical facts of the square.

This work was part of the exhibition program of the project space BETON Berlin and was a part of the Project Space Festival Berlin in 2023.

© Joshua Zielinski - 2024