The theme Georg Elser contains historical and moral aspects. First of all, the monument should express a contemporary artistic statement against violence. Both monument and art would be ineffective if it restricted itself to the historical view of violence without looking forward.
In principle, a bomb attack is a condemned radical intervention against political structures. Artistic treatment of such a topic requires a sensitive and well-reflected attitude. The monument should glorify neither violence nor vigilantism. In our society, which is shaped by Christianity, tyrannicide is regarded as ethically extremely controversial.
In order to dedicate a monument to the resistance fighter Georg Elser, one must emphasise his efforts on freedom, his desire to break the chain of violence, his courage to act and his sense of political responsibility.
With this in mind, I propose the following sculpture. I would like to set up a brown glass wall with the dimensions of 2.50 metres height x 12 metres in length consisting of 10 individual panes. Seen through this tinted transparent surface, the background appears in shades of brown. The name “Georg Elser“ is written in colourless and transparent letters into the wall. This is a simple but meaningful gesture and an aesthetically precisely designed memorial plaque. The wall separates a part of the street area from the flow of everyday life. Corresponding to the brownish glass wall, the surrounding pavement is covered with rusty corten steel sheets. They define a distinct place and ground the sculpture in this otherwise troubled environment.
A backpack parked on the wall is the real element of irritation of the sculpture. Nowadays, abandoned pieces of luggage are cause for concern and always include the possibility of assassination. In the context of Georg Elser, the backpack increases the presumption that it could be a bomb. In this spirit, the viewer is invited to reflect: Is it a found object, is it a bomb or is it art? This alarming situation makes clear that violence is omnipresent. It threatens or endangers liberal and democratic structures.
The writing and the backpack mark two points, which aesthetically divide the area of the glass panes, connect and create a pictorial composition. Like two points of power they form meaning and effect.
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Artistic concept of Thomas Gerhards (PDF-Document 74 KB)
Kulturwerk des bbk berlin GmbH: Offener zweiphasiger Kunstwettbewerb Denkzeichen Georg Elser in Berlin