kreuz weg (a handful of europe) / state museum berlin foundation (nikolaikirche) 2018-2020
STADTMUSEUM BERLIN FOUNDATION
STATE MUSEUM FOR BERLIN CULTURE AND HISTORY
DIRECTOR OF STADTMUSEUM BERLIN FOUNDATION
CHIEF-CURATOR OF BERLIN IN THE HUMBOLDTFORUM
with YASHA YOUNG
(DIRECTOR URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR CONTEMPORARY ART BERLIN) PROJECT CURATOR "A HANDFUL OF EUROPE"
"kreuz weg" - an installation as a European journey
by Mia Florentine Weiss
at the NIKOLAIKIRCHE MUSEUM BERLIN
Marking the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, the artist Mia Florentine Weiss will transform the main nave of the Nikolaikirche into a universal ‘Way of the Cross’ through a large-scale installation of a walk-in cross. Entering the installation, visitors will encounter a physical experience, one in which their own weaknesses, identities and questions are confronted, pushing them to the limits of perception.
The cross will be set upon the model of a hill amassed from topsoil originating in each European state. An evocative symbol for European unity, the cross itself will also traverse a symbolic ‘Way of the Cross’: Following the Berlin debut in fall 2019, the entire installation will travel through a selection of signatory countries included in the Treaty of Versailles. The artwork will thereby be enhanced through participation.
Yasha Young, Berlin, 2017
"In a world divided and full of loss or of identity or the fear of such the word Unity becomes a new and very emotional meaning. The artist Mia Florentine Weiß incorporates her vision of togetherness for Europe by inviting the people of Europe to participate to remind us that we need to remember where we come from but not be afraid of where we go as a United Europe. A collection of just a „handful of earth“ can amount to a strong foundation of we all remember ourselves as citizens of the world ...!"
The artist will collect the soil from every European country. This journey will be documented via digital platforms (e.g.A HANDFUL OF EUROPE) that allows people from all over the world to participate in the project. People will be able to send their own soil to the artist as a gesture towards European unity. The soil will be integrated into the installation continuously throughout its duration. Social networks are also meant to encourage people to bring their own “Handful of Europe” to each respective exhibition location throughout the project’s duration. The "extended concept of art" as the discursive space of a social state defined by Joseph Beuys could reach new dimensions through digitization: the "social sculpture" becomes a global sculpture.
Mia Florentine Weiss, Berlin, 2017
"A peaceful Europe without borders is not self evident. We must take a stand for this together - now and in the future! The current rise in populism shows how quickly the notion of Europe can fall victim to national egotism. The knowledge, view, and experience of the steadfastness of Europe’s humanism should become a reality both for us and for future generations.”
When Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor, started the First World War in his effort to transform Germany into a global colonial power, he used the term “divine right” to legitimize his actions. His predecessor, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, ordered a cross to be erected on top of Berlin’s Stadtschloss dome (now the Humboldt Forum) to demonstrate his divinely ordained status. The war to which Wilhelm II sent his troops “with God” claimed a total of some 17 million victims worldwide. After the end of this war in 1919, the victorious powers met in Versailles to sign a peace treaty determined to prevent another war in Europe. The consequences of this treaty for Germany ultimately contributed to the rise of National Socialism. Shortly thereafter, Germany plunged the world into a new war. The effects of colonialism and post-colonialism are still the cause of war and migration. These wars are not infrequently waged in the name of God.
Paul Spies, Berlin, 2017
"In the First World War, soldiers marched into the war with God by their side. Of the few who returned, many did so without Him. A hundred years later, the German artist Mia Florentine Weiss, symbolizes this trauma with an enormous fallen cross in Nikolaikirche: it is accessible, but not to the end. "