THE MINSK Art House in Potsdam is the latest project of the Hasso Plattner Foundation. On 24 September 2022, the new house will open to the public with two exhibitions: Wolfgang Mattheuer: Der Nachbar, der will fliegen and Stan Douglas: Potsdamer Schrebergärten. The former terrace restaurant “Minsk” – built in the 1970s in the modernist style of the GDR – will thus become a place for encounters between modern and contemporary art. In future, works of art from the former GDR that are part of the Hasso Plattner Collection will be shown here in new contexts.
Fig. above: DASMINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam, photo: Ladislav Zajac
The two opening exhibitions (running from 24.09.2022 – 15.01.2023) present two artists from the Hasso Plattner Collection who have devoted themselves to the, thoroughly political, theme of landscape – a subject that occupies a central role within the collection, from Impressionism to the present day. Wolfgang Mattheuer (1927 in Reichenbach/Vogtland; † 2004) repeatedly painted his immediate surroundings and his own garden. Sometimes his landscape painting seems to spring from visible reality, sometimes it contains mythological elements. The exhibition shows works from 1960 to 2000. The photographer and filmmaker Stan Douglas (1960 in Vancouver) photographed Potsdam’s allotment gardens as part of the DAAD programme in Potsdam in the early 1990s, documenting the city immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. For his film The Sandman (1995), also shown in the exhibition, he built and filmed an allotment garden before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in the former DEFA studios in Babelsberg. The simultaneous exhibitions and the accompanying publication reflect on the vast and fenced-in nature as well as city and industry in the field of tension between preservation and renewal.
The artist Olaf Nicolai (*1962 in Halle/Saale) was invited to respond to these exhibitions. Under the title Ménage de la maison (Engl. house cleaning), Nicolai is developing a temporary, site-specific performance for THE MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam, which will take place from 22.10.2022 on Wednesdays to Mondays during lunchtime.
In the ongoing collection format WECHSELSPIEL in the MINSK cabinet, a work from the Hasso Plattner Collection always meets a work from another collection, thus providing recurring insights into the museum’s own holdings and other collections.
“The architecture from the former GDR will be preserved, and we have also decided to retain the historic name ‘Minsk’. The exhibition house uses the means of art to critically examine the chapter of history in which it was created,” says founding director Paola Malavassi. “From the present, we reflect on the past – in the conviction that what is today cannot be understood without what is past. The complexity and contradictoriness of life experiences form the basis of our programme. In doing so, we differentiate between political systems and the populations living in them.” Since its inception, the “Minsk” restaurant has also been a venue for events and music. Following on from this, concerts, readings and performances will also take place here time and again in addition to the exhibitions.
For the three masts in front of MINSK, Belarusian artist Rufina Bazlova (*1990 in Grodno) has designed flags that go back to her cross-stitch embroidery. In her intervention Such a Minsk, Bazlova refers to the current political situation in Belarus in terms of content. The collaboration with Bazlova is linked to the design of architectural elements by Belarusian artists in the old “Minsk”.
The work Cagy Being (Käfigwesen) 3 by Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt was installed at the staircase of MINSK to Brauhausberg. The large-scale wall work was planned in 1989 for a children’s day-care centre, but was never realised after the fall of the Wall. Now, thirty years later, this significant work depicting five children in geometric abstract form is being realised for the first time. The installation heralds the extensive retrospective of the artist Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt entitled Nothing New at MINSK in early 2023. Born in Wurzen in 1932, the artist is considered a pioneer of “mail art” in the former GDR; her work includes “typewritings”, prints, collages as well as paintings. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Wolf-Rehfeldt stopped working artistically. In November 2022, her work will be awarded the Hannah Höch Prize of the State of Berlin.
With its large window front and spacious forecourt, THE MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam radiates openness, as did the former terrace restaurant. The café bar, terrace and foyer are open to the public, regardless of whether they are visiting the exhibition. “For many people in Potsdam, the former terrace restaurant ‘Minsk’ is associated with memories. Many of them fought for the preservation of the old ‘Minsk’ for precisely this reason, because it was also to some extent about the preservation of their own identity and that of the city. THE MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam wants to pick up precisely where they left off and re-establish itself as a meeting place that goes beyond art. Here we show, search and discuss, endure and bring together and hopefully also dance and laugh again. I hope for togetherness and togetherness,” says Stefanie Plattner, project manager for THE MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam on the part of the Hasso Plattner Foundation.
Inside the building, reminiscences of the old “Minsk”, such as the large spiral staircase and the rounded bar counter, can be found in their original places, but in a new guise: the interior design of the foyer and bar was realised by the architectural office Linearama from Genoa in cooperation with the Hedwig Bollhagen workshops in Marwitz, Brandenburg.
Back in April 2021, Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi (*1961 in Sibiu) inaugurated the future exhibition walls of the MINSK with his drawings, which were absorbed back into the building as construction work progressed. Now he has returned and continued his drawings in the lift and on the pillars of the café bar for all to see.
On 24 and 25 September, the building and the exhibitions will be open to the public during regular opening hours (10 am to 7 pm). Admission to the building and the exhibitions is by means of free time slot tickets booked online in advance. It is not possible to visit the house without a time slot ticket on these days.
THE MINSK Art House in Potsdam, Max-Planck-Strasse 17, 14473 Potsdam
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
10 euros, 8 euros reduced