Perhaps most striking is a head of Lenin, once part of a colossal monument on the United Nations Plaza in East Berlin (left) but dismantled after Germany's reunification. A comprehensive disposal plan was lacking, leading to the disassembled pieces being deposited in the woods. They fell prey to the chisels of enthusiasts wanting a piece of Lenin's ear or beard. The city decided to prevent further vandalism by covering the stones with earth—twice, in fact, when the problem continued even after the first attempt.
A permanent exhibition in the Zitadelle Spandau puts not only honorific statues but display itself in the spotlight. Unveiled: Berlin and Its Monuments thematizes the city's long history of erecting statues of various personalities, only to remove them later when the political landscape changes. What deserves to stand on public display, and when? Looking at these statues from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries makes clear how changeable the landscape of monuments is.
In 2015, the city decided to raise Lenin from the dead (below) and bring his head into this exhibition. Now it is exhibited on its side (bottom), emphasizing its fall from grace and current status not as an item of honor but a fallen relic.
Ideas on Display
A humble space to reflect on concepts of museum display as enacted across a wide range of subjects, countries, and approaches.