Humboldt Forum

Kunst-am-Bau competition for the Humboldt Forum has been concluded

Press release

Berlin, 15. August 2018

The latest round of jury meetings on 7 and 8 August 2018 for the Kunst am Bau (“percent for art”) competitions for two major foyers in the Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss came to a decision on all the locations where art is to be incorporated into the building. Artists were tasked with creating concepts for the foyer on the ground floor, which functions as an entrance hall for the two large event halls in the north-western corner of the building, and the foyer on the first floor, which will be situated between the Berlin Exhibition and the Academy work rooms. The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BRR) has launched a total of four Kunst am Bau competitions for the Humboldt Forum.

For the foyer on the ground floor, artist duo Dellbrügge & de Moll (Christiane Dellbrügge and Ralf de Moll, Berlin) received first prize for their work titled Die Architekten. The jury, chaired by Dr Barbara Steiner, head of the Kunsthaus Graz, unanimously recommended that the work be realized with a Kunst am Bau budget totalling 150,000 euro. Stuttgart artist Martin Bruno Schmid also won first prize for his work Fond (Goldgrund). Third prize went to Berlin artists Dolores Zinny and Juan Maidagan for their work Horizont. Wall areas in the foyer have been designated for the Kunst am Bau works, for which the artists were asked to address the history of the site.

For the other Kunst am Bau competition for the foyer on the first floor, the same jury awarded first prize to Stefan Sous, Düsseldorf, for his wall installation ZEITMASCHINE. The budget for this project is 40,000 euro. Second prize went to Almut Determeyer, Berlin, for SPEKTRUM [ˈʃpɛktrum]. The aim of this competition was to find an artistic intervention for the wall of the foyer situated immediately next to the Berlin Exhibition and the Humboldt Academy, a place of exchange, research and learning, that would pay respect to the von Humboldt brothers, the namesakes of this globally unique cultural institution.

In their evaluation of the work of Dellbrügge & de Moll for the foyer on the ground floor, the jury emphasized that it allowed viewers to participate “in the 600-year history of the site”. The line of text that runs continuously around the cube-shaped room lists the first names of all the architects and master builders who were involved with the Berlin Palace over the centuries. “In their sheer simplicity, the letters underscore the rationalism of Franco Stella’s architec-ture,” the jury wrote. “The history of the building is reflected in the naming of names, and given an airing at the same time.” By giving a new twist to the names in the chain of letters, the work also frees itself from architectural histo-ry, “abolishing hierarchies” and “encouraging independent thinking”.

The joint first-prize-winning entry by Martin Bruno Schmid – sixty-four solid golden dowels plugged into the wall – was described by the jury as a richly associative and humorous metaphor for the multilayered character of the Humboldt Forum.

As a “sort of waiting room, an antechamber, a place of anticipation, restiveness and expectation in advance of the different shows and events ahead” the space designated for the artwork “inspires people to look more closely,” the jury wrote. You don’t notice the dowels at first. They pique the curiosity, the urge to find out more and the imagination of the people waiting. “The golden dowels tell all sorts of potential stories, throw up all sorts of possible questions and inspire all sorts of ideas about value, function and mystery,” the jury declared.

Stefan Sous’s wall installation ZEITMASCHINE, which won first prize for the foyer on the first floor, consists of sixty-six closely hung wall clocks of various sizes showing the time in different places around the world. “The work refers to a historical illustration from the atlas in Alexander von Humboldt’s Cosmos from the year 1851,” the jury writes in its report. One special aspect is under-scored in the jury report: “Unlike contemporary clocks showing world times, the times shown in this collage stem from the epoch before the introduction of synchronization and the introduction of time zones. The installation draws attention to an often-overlooked driving force of modernization, namely the unification of spatial and temporal units of time around the world.”

The competitions were managed as part of the building work by the German Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning and implemented jointly to secure synergy benefits. It was an invitation-only anonymous competition in German and English preceded by an open competition process.

Hans-Dieter Hegner, the chief technology officer of the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss: “Well over one hundred artists submitted entries for the two competitions. Their variety testifies to the enormous vitality and creative energy in the art scene, leading to lively discussions in the jury with clear decisions at the end of the process. We now look forward to implementing the winning entries. These works are not only aesthetically sophisticated, they also respond to the architecture; they are elegant and modern as well as thought provoking and humorous. The Stiftung would like to thank all the artists and jury members for their participation. We very much looking forward to seeing the artworks realized in the highest quality. I am utterly convinced that they will enhance the overall experience of Humboldt Forum visitors.”

The competition results will soon be presented to the public in an exhibition. More information can be found on our website and on the website of the German Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning


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Press contact

Bernhard Wolter
Head of Communications for Construction and Fundraising
Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss
+49 151 14001199, Send e-mail