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Berlin Art at Site www.berlinkunst.info Peter Eisenman	Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas
Artist:
Title:
Year:
Adress:
Website:
Peter Eisenman
Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas
2005
Hannah-Arendt-Straße
Website
www.artatsite.com:
Shape
Even if this artwork is known by pictures, it still makes a stunning impression. In a large space in the center of Berlin, surrounded by buildings Eisenmann laid down a great number of concrete cubes, between which you can walk. The cubes are of different format; there are perfectly square cubes and rectangular shapes. The surface is sloping so during walking the ground can change gradually or suddenly; downwardly, upwardly and also sideways. The rectangular shapes remind me of tombstones and so the artwork reminds me of a cemetery. The rolling nature of the surface brings continuous uncertainty; at one moment there is a spacious view across the terrain but this may change. Sometimes, the surface sinks deep and the cubes are high enough to darken the narrow corridors.

Material
The cubes are made of stone. It seems that they are concrete but not carved out of stone. The surface is smooth and the color is that of concrete. This gives the work some artificiality. To my taste, the use of an natural material (for instance hardstone) the artwork would have more meaning and be more aesthetic.

Location
Because the artwork is located in the center of a metropolis, it is immediately clear that this must be an important work. Berliners and Germans in general will probably assign historical significance to the artwork. Additionally massiveness has great impact: this makes clear that the presented theme will be meaningful to many people and for many decades. A large number of tourists are walking between the cubes. People react differently to the darkness and lack of visibility between courses. Suddenly a person can loom. Some people are in serious reflection and some are uncertain giggling. The tourists on the adjoining terrace strike the atmosphere. A number of people are waiting alongside the premises. The people do not seem familiar with Berlin.

Impact
It gives a special feeling when the ground collapses and the blocks become higher at the same time so the blocks stand well above the person. Then it gets even darker between the stones. This gives a sense of insecurity and fear feels like walking into a maze with no prospect of a way out. The lack of visibility on other hikers makes me feel lonely and desolate.

Meaning
This artwork is a masterpiece and is pointing effectively to major historical events and meanings, for Germans and also for mankind. A cube is a minimal element which refers to essential values, like peace and humanity. Scrolling between the blocks can bring this desire. A rectangle form refers to more specific symbols. I think in this case of a tombstone. It focuses strongly on the past, but is less meaningful to the present and the future. It recalls feelings from the past but provides less comfort for the future.

Compared with other works
In the Garden of Exils Daniel Libeskind (Berlin, picture 1, more information) the olive-trees refer to tradition, trust, hope and future. The olives are standing in a cube and thus refers to the essential role of the substrate, the base, the tradition. The slope refers to a continuous and positive development, in my opinion. Even when Libeskind makes use of comparable aesthetic elements (cubes, a non-flat surface), he added thereto essential elements (olive trees) and so the meaning of the work is entirely different than the artwork by Eisenmann.

The impact of natural elements (stone, water) as Water Feature Stephen Cox (London, picture 2, more information) is strong and by pointing to words like a comprehensive universal system, continuity, human nature, responsibility, tradition and hope.

The use of massiveness has a major impact in 1600 Pandas by Paolo Grangeon (Hong Kong, picture 3, more information) by the friendly looking pandas who activate to immediate global action to protect nature.

Massiveness can also have an absolute nature. The question in The Wolves Are Coming by Liu Ruowang (Beijing, picture 4, more information) whether the lone person can keep standing up against the wolves. The artis can refer to different matters. It is at least something violent which man fears. This can be anything; natural disasters, other people, the government, big compagnies, etc. This work brings in a general topic with a strong emotion but gives no direction for a solution.
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Picture 1
Picture 2
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www.wikipedia.org:
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial inBerlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 m2 (4.7-acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 m (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.8 m (7.9 in to 15 ft 9.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north-south, and 87 heading east-west at right angles but set slightly askew.[2][3] An attached underground "Place of Information" (German: Ort der Information) holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. Building began on April 1, 2003 and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Friedrichstadt neighborhood. The cost of construction was approximately €25 million. The memorial has attracted some controversy, and was described by Ignatz Bubis, the then leader of the German Jewish community, as unnecessary. www.stiftung-denkmal.de: Das Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas im Zentrum Berlins ist die zentrale Holocaustgedenkstätte Deutschlands, ein Ort der Erinnerung und des Gedenkens an die bis zu sechs Millionen jüdischen Opfer des Holocaust. Das zwischen Brandenburger Tor und Potsdamer Platz gelegene Denkmal besteht aus dem von Peter Eisenman entworfenen Stelenfeld und dem unterirdisch gelegenen Ort der Information. Der Eintritt ist frei.