|Aschrott Fountain [Kassel 1985]|
Aschrott Fountain (Kassel 1985)
„The sunken fountain is not the memorial at all.It is only history turned into a pedestal, an invitationto passersby who stand upon
it to search for thememorial in their own heads.For only there is the memorial to be found.“
Artist Horst Hoheisel, with Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13), Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, will perform the monthly cleaning of Negative Form, Hoheisel's counter-memorial to the Aschrott Fountain in the center of Kassel, at 10 am on March 29, 2011.
MEMORIAL-SURVEILLANCE in the Foyer of the City-Hall of Kassel during the Documenta 11 (Kassel 2002)
Aschrottfountain (Kassel 1985)
Aschrottbrunnen (Kassel 1985) In 1908, Sigmund Aschrott, one of Kassel’s entrepreneurs, instructed the City Hall architect, Karl Roth, to design a fountain tor the new City Hall building which was then on the drawing-board. This sandstone obelisk-shaped fountain, constructed on an historical sandstone catchment became the characterizing feature ot the City Hall’s Courtyard of Honour, the Rathausehrenhof constituting a counterbalance to the monumental Henschel fountain (Henschelbrunnen)on the opposite side. Ihe citizens of Kassel loved the fountain and identified with it. The fountain became a symbol ot their civic pride. On April 9, 1939, National Socialist activists from Kassel destroyed the fountain. Ihe fountain was a symbol for them too, a symbol of their hate: its founder; Sigmund Aschrott, was a jew. Today, this act of destruction by the Nazis has, in turn, also come to symbolize something for us: the irreparable destruction of their own bond with European civilization, with their/our own history and cultural heritage. And, during the post-war years, one symbolic act followed on the heels of another. In 1963, long after the Nazi municipal authorities had planted flowers in the empty basin ot the fountain, the Aschrottbrunnen was once more turned into a fountain. During my childhood in Kassel there were no signs to remind us either of the obelisk designed by Karl Roth or of its founder, Sigmund Aschrott. In Kassel, no one wished to be reminded ot the victims ot National Socialism, of their own guilt, turning to look in the other direction while crimes were being committed. The fountain had become a symbol of memories repressed, the desire to forget.
,What did the artist have in mind?’ - Ten years after the inauguration of the Aschrottbrunnen, people in Kassel still ask me this question. I like to throw the ball back at them, countering with a question of my own: ,What crossed people’s minds in 1939, when Nazi activists first demolished the fountain and then, by an official ordinance ot the mayor of the city, the remaining pieces were cleared away? What crossed the minds of Kassel’s citizens when, in 1941 and 1942, the deportation trains left from track 3 at the main railway station, deporting more than 3000 Jews from Kassel to Riga, Majdanek and Theresienstadt?’