Christof Zwiener


The Adretta potato was cultivated in the GDR in 1975 in order to prevent famine. As the most commonly grown and eaten potato in the country it became a true staple crop for the population at large. Karl-Marx-Allee, by contrast, was planned as the crown jewel of the GDR, symbolic of its modernity. It was expressly designed not to reflect the workers and farmers who helped define the country and its socialist foundation. The artistic intervention Adretta – Karl Marxconnects Karl-Marx-Allee to those segments of the population who were excluded from this area of the GDR.

In spring 2021, two garden plots 80 metres in length, 1 metre wide and with a 2,5 metre portion bent inwards at a right angle at each end will be planted in the green areas in front of the residential buildings at Karl-Marx-Allee 5-11 and 19-25, at the very beginning of the street as well as parallel to it. Adretta potatoes will be grown here for the duration of the project. Residents will be invited to adopt the gardening plots. Together they will care for the plots even under unforeseen circumstances such as inhospitable weather conditions or damages resulting from vandalism or root voles. At the conclusion of the project, everyone involved will receive a portion of the potato harvest and a community potato festival will be held. The neighbourhood initiative will both strengthen social structures and help residents identify with the area beyond the confines of the project. The historical subject matter of this work also connects to contemporary issues. It responds to the rapidly accelerating development of the inner city with a green space for urban gardening. Adretta – Karl Marx also takes into account the heightened interest in regional produce by introducing a sustainable, environmentally friendly concept.