Dnipro. Ya Gallery art center

LENIN ON TOUR. REPORT FOR UKRAINE. Rudolf Herz

22.11.2016 – 17.12.2016

Rudolf Herz has been addressing our memory and our attitude towards the past for a long time. Within his project 'Lenin on Tour' he showed monuments of Lenin around Europe; film and photo documents, as well as a catalog, were created. With support from Goethe-Institut, the author will present his project by himself at the Ya Gallery art center in Dnipro.

Exhibition Dnipro Ya Gallery art center

Rudolf Herz has been developing concepts related to installation and removals of monuments. He has been constantly addressing to our memory and attitude towards the past in his works. Within his project 'Lenin on tour' he showed monuments of Lenin around Europe; film and photo documents, as well as a catalog, were created. With support from Goethe-Institut, the author will present his project by himself at Ya gallery art center in Dnipro.

The multimedia project focuses on the monument's traveling from XX to XXI century. It is a trip of a tramp-monument that lost its origin. The tour started in Munich in 2004. Lenin wrote his polemical 'What is to be done?' in this city. After Munich the tour lasted for one month and covered 8,000 km of Europe including Zurich, Rome, Prague, Vienna, Dresden, and Berlin. The project's slogan defined by Rudolf Herz is 'I show Lenin to those of my age, and present the XXI century to Lenin. Who will explain it to him?'

Three red granite bust sculptures portray Vladimir Ilich Lenin and two nameless 'comrades' and belong to the former monument of Lenin in Dresden. The bust sculptures are fixed at a flatbed truck of a heavy road-train. During the daytime the road-train travels, at night it stops and parks in a central square, in front of museums, theaters, factories. Audience and artists, scientists and politicians are invited to speak.

Prehistory

In 1991, two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city council of Dresden adopted a resolution to remove the monument of Lenin located in front of the Central railway station; and offered the monument as a gift to a person who can remove it on his own, without any financial aid. Rudolf Herz didn't accept this 'tabula rasa' mentality. He suggested 'Lenin's camp'. A project of the sculpture in Dresden' and presented it to the city. The granite monument was supposed to be cut into pieces and presented permanently at the same place. Thus, it was supposed to become a monument to the monument's removal, still present in the city.

The response of German media to this suggestion was very positive. And Culture committee of Dresden city council agreed to implement it. However, gravestones producer from the South of Germany learned about it from the media and offered to remove the monument for free. After a campaign at 'BILD' newspaper, the city council adopted the decision about removal in 1992. The gravestones producer dismantled the monument of Lenin and promised to place it in his park of socialist monuments planned to be situated on the bank of the Danube river.

However, it didn't happen — the gravestones producer died soon afterward. Rudolf Herz contacted his son who didn't plan to continue the idea of the deceased father. Herz managed to borrow parts of the monument for his art projects. Finally, in 2004 he implemented 'Lenin on tour' project. Thus, failure of the 'Lenin's camp' was a precondition for 'Lenin on tour'

Exhibition

While choosing photos for the exhibition 'Lenin on Tour. Report for Ukraine' a lot of attention was paid to those which can be used for a conversation about monuments and variety of their forms. The photos were made by Reinhard Matz and Irena Wunsch.

Apart from the photos, the exhibition also presents a movie 'Lenin on Tour' filmed by Nicolas Humbert and Martin Otter (2009, English subtitles) for the project of Rudolf Herz.


The movie and the tour received financial support from Munich, a capital of the German state of Bavaria, within the framework of 'Art in the public space' program.