Textile installation at the Hamburg Historical Museum 2022
When the Hall of Honor was built in 1908, Germany was enjoying great prosperity and felt superior to other nations, countries and their indigenous populations.
The installation The Pillars of Society thematizes precisely those issues that do are not addressed in the museum, those that are either left in the dark or represented in an idealized or one-sided manner.
The first pillar in the ensemble deals with the issue of women in Hamburg and it is deliberately placed in the part of the Hall of Honor that pays homage to the rich and powerful white men in the history of Hamburg and the Wilhelmine Empire.
The second pillar deals with the image of Hamburg as “Gateway to the World,” an image that generally implies a sense of openness and receptivity. Yet behind it lies the destruction, exploitation and enslavement of societies and landscapes on other continents. As Germany’s main port, Hamburg played an important role during the colonial period.
The third pillar deals with the ethnological expositions at the Hagenbeck Zoo and how they continue to influence our image of people of color and other ethnic groups.
The Hall of Honor rests on stone pillars, formal elements that are taken up again by the installation The Pillars of Society, but using a softer material.