Ana Belen Cantoni

Von Bruchstücken zu Bruchstücken (Picking up the Pieces)

Von Bruchstücken zu Bruchstücken takes individual fragments the size of paving stones out of Bert Heller’s Mosaic, Szenen aus dem Leben der Völker der Sowjetunion(Scenes from the Lives of the Peoples of the Soviet Union), and inserts them into the sidewalk. The individual pieces are transferred from the majestic, decorative wall work to the lower, horizontal area of the sidewalk. The removed fragments will be replaced by reproductions in the mosaic. The story told in the mosaic is no longer legible on the ground, instead becoming an abstract pattern.

Abstract art was often rejected by totalitarian regimes because they saw an individualistic sense of expression in it. They wanted artists to design, determine and idealise the people’s future through representative stories instead. Von Bruchstücken zu Bruchstücken enables passers-by and viewers to make new connections and insert their own stories in the space between the fragments.

The wall mosaic glorifies the supremacy of the socialist system by showing a world in which farmers sell their products, people of all nations live together in harmony with each other as well as with animals, and there is no clash between nature and industrial progress. It is a work of Socialist Realism that shows the idyllic future the socialist system supposedly leads to. And yet, the mosaic uses luxury materials such as marble and glass, which stand for riches and prestige, in order to do so. They have also been used to symbolise a type of sacred supremacy in churches, synagogues and mausoleums for hundreds of years. Furthermore, traditional art forms such as the mosaic contradict the aesthetics of the modern buildings.