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MEMORIA URBANA-BERLIN

MEMORIA URBANA-BERLIN

This large scale installation consists on the recreation of the Bohemian Bethlehem Church at its original place, and in the same size. The lost Bömische-Bethlehemskirche was a unique building in the middle of Berlin, representing one of the most beautiful chapters of the relations between Germany and Bohemia. Thanks to the generosity of King Frederick William I, Czech refugees who left their homeland for religious reasons were admitted to whole the Friedrichstadt of Berlin. The whole story of the church, since it’s construction in 1733-1735 until today, even though it is absent, is full of values and grandeur. It was the centre of the Czech community’s life in Berlin until 1943, when it was badly damaged by bombing. Subsequently, in 1963, it was demolished and the site incorporated into the facilities of Checkpoint Charlie. With the fall of the Wall, the American promoter who developed the plot was sensitive to the demands of the Czech community and negotiated with the city to vacate the original location of the church.

10. Permanent Sculpture Berlin.

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In January 2008, starting with the mosaic showing the ground plan on the former church that can be found in the pavement of the Bethlehemskirchplatz in Berlin, Garaizabal began to look fro signs of the lost Bohemian Church, and collected numerous documents found in Berlin and the Czech Republic. Apart from a large series of vintage photographs and original plans, the author became fascinated by the discovery of so-called “Lebensläufe”. They consist of short autobiographies that the first settlers who came to Berlin from Bohemia wrote before they died to be read at their funerals. Extraordinary stories of ordinary people.

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Garaizabal has created and registered the master lines of a monumental iron/light structure, according to the technique and artistical language of the “Memorias Urbanas” global project. The piece of installation art has an estimated height of 30 meters (equivalent to a 10-storey building), and will be a reflection of integrity, which is a characteristic that can be found in buildings as well as people, and just as seldom.
As all the previous Memorias Urbanas, the installation will allow the visitors to “live” the absence/presence of the Church at its original place and size. It was preceded by the presentation of its model, together with 10 other accompanying preparatory artworks, in Prague, the capital city of Bohemia, the region from which the refugees came. I was at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art from Jan27 to Apr18 2011.

4. Assembling Process Berlin.

For night time, the installation is equipped with a sophisticated Light System. Based on 24V flexible tube led, it offers an extraordinary look, enriched with music coordinated by a computer.

8. Permanent Sculpture Berlin.
All the “Memorias Urbanas” are efficient and 100% sustainable Art Events. The metal structure is easily assembled/disassembled to be placed in another definitive spot and the light works with a minimal energy consumption, being all 24V and completely safe. The installations are subject to all technical certificates and all the preparatory works (sketches, pictures, models, writings…) from the artist are shown in simultaneous exhibitions. The Memorias Urbanas project is registered in Berlin by Juan Garaizabal.