15. March 2019

FREE – ART ACTION IN THE CRIMINAL COURT UND THE JVA MOABIT PRISON, IN BERLIN’S MITTE DISTRICT

An unusual golden fields installation by Winfried Muthesius

An unusual art action is just beginning to take shape. Berlin artist Winfried Muthesius is placing small monochrome gold fields, so-called golden fields, in the historic Criminal Court in Berlin Moabit, the largest criminal court in Europe, and in the adjacent JVA Moabit prison.

Staircase, Moabit Criminal Court

He is bringing gold to a place where you would not expect to find it.

These are places that employees, police, inmates, parties in court hearings, or visitors regularly pass by in the course of their normal everyday business. In the long corridors and courtrooms, the first low-key golden surfaces are already shining. They are setting in motion a process of confrontation.

Waiting area outside a courtroom

Gold has many meanings in our culture. The artist uses the small surfaces of the monochrome golden fields predominantly to addresses the spiritual aspects of gold. Gold represents light and purity, clarity and knowledge.

In the context of a court and a prison, other aspects come into play:

For parties involved in trials, plaintiffs, defendants and prisoners on remand, aspects such as hope for a fair trial, for justice, for a peaceful future and enduring prospects. The golden fields also represent, for example, the value we place in our country on the police, the judiciary and the prison system in ensuring our safety. They are also a reminder that many people are suffering because they do not live in a free and democratic state governed by the rule of law.

Again and again, people come up and speak to Muthesius on site while he is working on his art. There is almost an interactive process taking place there. The first 30 golden fields are put into position. Soon the scene will move from the court building to the security wing of the JVA prison.  We are eager to see how people take in the points of light in the drab, grey everyday life of a judicial setting, which is so often epitomised by death and crime, doubts and accusations, by the search for meaning and the longing for justice.

Barrier in front of a golden field, in a corridor