6. October 2017

With a Keen Sensibility and a Political Subtext

Muthesius is a child of Berlin. He grew up in the West, and knew the East very well; he was there often. His first studio was in the western part of the Kreuzberg district; Oranienstrasse, a stone’s throw from the Berlin Wall. His own experiences of the divide – normality on one side, brutality on the other – were tangible and painful. Here is just one such example: One sunny day in the West – May 11th, 1975, Cetin, a Turkish boy growing up in Kreuzberg, fell into the river Spree as he chased after his ball while playing. It was his fifth birthday. Fire and rescue services arrived promptly at the scene. But they were unable to help, because no permission was given by the border guards from the East. The little boy died before he could be rescued. “Despite angry protests from family and other people who had gathered at the Gröbenufer, the child’s body was not brought to the West Berlin side, where he had fallen in the water. It was brought instead to the forensic institute of Charité Hospital in East Berlin. Another four days passed before the dead boy was delivered to his parents.” See: Chronicle of the Berlin Wall / Victims at the Wall / Mert, Cetin

Incidents like this were not uncommon in Muthesius’s life. So it is hardly surprising that he went through life with a keen sensibility and that his works always have a political angle to them. Never of the flag-waving kind – he finds that rather suspect – but rather in the subtext.