Jüdisches Museum Berlin

Für das wiedereröffnete Jüdische Museum Berlin gestaltete in ich in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Szenografiebüro chezweitz den Themenraum "Hall of Fame" und fertigte 76 Porträtzeichnungen sowie Zeichnungen für Wand und Boden.
Fotos: Alexander Butz

Jonathon Catlin for Literaturwissenschaft in Berlin:
"...My favorite room in the new exhibition is the Hall of Fame, featuring dozens of sketches of culturally significant Jews by Andree Volkmann installed in a bright, open atrium. The very sight of this wide range of figures milling about in close proximity, as if catching up at a café in a parallel universe, delights the imagination with counterfactuals: The revolutionary Karl Marx cracking jokes with the American comedians the Marx Brothers; Holocaust survivor and chemist Primo Levi deep in conversation with the film theorist Siegfried Kracauer; the composer Leonard Bernstein clinking glasses with the prophetic critic Walter Benjamin and the mystical painter Marc Chagall; Jesus and Alfred Dreyfus sharing persecution tales; the Frankfurt School theorist Max Horkheimer bumping elbows with sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and Holocaust diarist Anne Frank; the Austro-Bohemian Romantic composer Gustav Mahler and the British singer Amy Winehouse nodding their heads in unison while sharing a pair of earphones.
The playful tableau of the Hall of Fame also cuts to the core of one of the oldest problems in Jewish history: How to define that old German word, Judentum? Is it Judaism or Jewishness? Is Jewry constituted as a religion, an ethnicity, a nation, or a culture? Who counts as a Jew, and therefore merits representation in a Jewish museum such as this one? Whereas the earliest rooms of the permanent exhibition reductively define the Jewish community as a religious one defined by religious law (however fitting that may have been in the medieval period), that narrow and outdated characterization is blown apart by this rainbow paint-bomb of a broad spectrum of Jewishness. This matters for a museum moving forward from a number of controversies in recent years surrounding the question of what and whom a Jewish museum in Germany is for. The diversity of figures represented scrambles standard answers to these questions that fail to go beyond rigid categories and formulas. But, more importantly, it leaves the visitor wanting to learn more about the figures’ lives and the stories that hold them all together...."

Jonathon Catlin is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities at Princeton University.