DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam is the newest project of the Hasso Plattner Foundation. On September 24, 2022, the new institution will open to the public with the two exhibitions: Wolfgang Mattheuer: The Neighbor Who Wants to Fly and Stan Douglas: Potsdamer Schrebergärten.
The former terrace restaurant “Minsk” – built in the 1970s in the modernist style of the GDR – thus becomes a place for encounters between modern and contemporary art. In the future, works from the former GDR, which are part of the Hasso Plattner Collection, will be shown here in new contexts.
Both opening exhibitions (Duration: September 24, 2022 – January 15, 2023) present two artists from the Hasso Plattner Collection who are dedicated to the thoroughly political theme of landscape – a subject that occupies a central role within the collection, from Impressionism until the present day. Wolfgang Mattheuer (*1927 in Reichenbach/Vogtland; † 2004) repeatedly painted his immediate surroundings and his own garden.
Sometimes his landscape painting seemed to arise from visible reality, while at other times they contained mythological elements. The exhibition shows works from 1960 until 2000. The photographer and filmmaker Stan Douglas (*1960 in Vancouver) photographed the Schrebergärten in Potsdam as part of the DAAD Program at the beginning of the 1990s, documenting the city immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. For his film Der Sandmann (1995), also shown in the exhibition, he built and filmed two Schrebergärten in the former DEFA Studios in Babelsberg.
The concurrent exhibitions and accompanying publication reflect on both vast and enclosed nature, as well as the city and industry, in the tension between preservation and renewal.
“The architecture from the former GDR will be preserved and we have also decided to preserve the historical name ‘Minsk’. Through the means of art, the exhibition venue critically grapples with the chapter in history in which it was created,” says the founding director Paola Malavassi. “From the present we thereby reflect upon the past, in the conviction that our contemporary moment can’t be understood without it. The complexity and contradictory nature of life experiences forms the foundation of our program. We thereby differentiate between political systems and the people who live within them.”
Since its inception the restaurant “Minsk” was also a place for events and music. Subsequently, in addition to the exhibitions, concerts, readings, and performances will also be held here from time to time.
In Autumn 2022, the work Cagy Being (Käfigwesen) 3 by Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt will be installed in the MINSK’s stairway to the Brauhausberg. The large-scale wall work was planned for a kindergarten in 1989 but was no longer realized after the fall of the Wall. Now, thirty years later, this significant work, which depicts five children in geometric abstract form, will be on view for the first time.
The installation heralds the comprehensive retrospective of the artist Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt at DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam in early 2023. Born in Wurzen in 1932, the artist is considered a pioneer of Mail Art in the former GDR. Her work encompasses “typewritings,” prints, collages, and painting. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Wolf-Rehfehldt ceased to work as an artist. In November 2022, her work will be distinguished with the Hannah Höch Prize of the State of Berlin.
With its large window façade and spacious forecourt, DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam like the former terrace restaurant, exudes openness. The Cafébar, terrace, and foyer are open to the public, regardless of whether they are visiting the exhibitions. “For many Potsdamers, the former terrace restaurant ‘Minsk’ is associated with many memories. Many of them fought for the preservation of the old ‘Minsk’ precisely for this reason, because it was to some extent also about the preservation of their own identity and that of the city.
DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam wants to pick up exactly where it left off and establish itself as a place of encounter that goes beyond art. Here we will show, search, discuss, endure, and bring together as well as hopefully dancing and laughing again. I hope to spend time with, and for, each other,” says Stefanie Plattner, the representative responsible for the DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam on behalf of the Hasso Plattner Foundation.
Inside the building there are reminiscences of the old “Minsk,” such as the large spiral staircase and the rounded bar counter in the original location, with a new look: the interior design of the foyer and bar was realized by the architectural office Linearama from Genoa in collaboration with the Hedwig Bollhagen Werkstätten in Marwitz, Brandenburg.
(Via Das Minsk Kunsthaus)