Das Feld (The Field) (1996)

Title of work:

Das Feld (The Field)

Place: Festspielhaus Hellerau, Dresden

Technic: Yellow pigment, disks of Fermacell, iron wire and French plaster,

Size: 30 x 16 x 1,2m

Year: 1996

Text: Stefan Schröder

In early January 1996, Das Feld (The Field), assembled with four thousand machine-made disks sprinkled with yellow colour pigments and inserted onto thin iron rods, filled Festspielhaus Helleraus´s (Dresden, Germany) main space for almost a month. The building was run down and in unsightly shape when Red Army soldiers left the place in 1992. Could a room installation gain from these circumstances and bring back light to this fascinating place? Since the early seventies, I passed the building twice daily on my way to school, mainly with a feeling of uncertainty. Growing up in the neighbourhood, for me, the place was connected with the smell of Russian petrol, the faraway sound of the soldier’s military choir at the weekends, the colour of their uniforms and the awareness of almost forgotten and mysterious history. Back in Dresden in the late summer of 1995, after finishing art studies in the Netherlands, I presented a sketch of Das Feld to the newly founded Fördeverein Europäische Werkstatt. When I promised to produce and maintain the project independently, an agreement was signed for the following winter season. I started a long-lasting production process and engaged with sponsors to support some materials and equipment. With help from friends and family, the installation was finished just in time for the opening on January 7th, 1996. Luckily, the local newspaper covered the exhibition twice and spread the word. During the weeks of exhibiting Das Feld at the Festspielhaus, I felt the place changed its purpose once again. After decades of unfaithful treatment, a brighter future for the building and the country was imaginable. Das Feld marked this particular moment and, maybe, contributed to pushing things in the right direction.