Carried by the Wind

Opening September 3rd, 2015 – Closing September 27th, 2015
Artists – Lasse Antonsen
Copenhagen, Denmark

“Carried by the Wind” was inspired by the Cold War propaganda initiative where printed material was attached to balloons, launched from West Germany, and dispersed over Communist Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. The campaign lasted from 1951-56, and more than 500,000 balloons carried more than 300,000,000 leaflets and books.

At the the Kunstkraftwerk these historic events were recreated, with 40 transparent pillow-shaped balloons replicas that emulated those used in the propaganda initiative, suspended from inside the building. The balloons were the original size, approximately two meters tall.  The balloons had small boxes suspended underneath them. Most of the boxes were out of reach and closed, appearing to be landing.  A few boxes had touched the ground. Those boxes were open in front and on top, and stacks of sheets of paper with text fragments were placed inside, strewn all over the floor, where visitors could pick them up.

The text fragments were selections from the Polish writer Bruno Schulz’s book, “The Street of Crocodiles” (“The Cinnamon Shops”). Each balloon and box, carried its own text fragment.  For Lasse Antonsen, Schulz’s stories embody the kind of writing that goes beyond direct metaphor into a raw, pre-psychological realm of the imagination. His life was cut short when he was murdered by a Gestapo officer in 1942. The visitors identified with Schultz’s creative voice, and were enchanted by it. The installation had a certain magic to it, operating on a direct, theatrical level.

Depending on how the visitor chose to engage, the setting had different levels of contemplation. The installation challenged us in terms of a visualization of themes of freedom of speech and the roll of the human imagination. Breaking down, or trespassing, of walls on three levels could be experienced: on the spiritual level between ordinary consciousness and the irrational, on the ethical level between action and conscience, and on the physical level by confronting ghetto walls, iron walls and marshal law.


Panel Discussion at KUNSTKRAFTWERK Leipzig, in connection with the exhibition 

Panel: Karol Jozwiek, Constanze Fritzsch, Lasse Antonsen

Political and social reality can be seen as narrated and enacted by conflicting ideologies. Any social reality, present and past, is the result of an ongoing struggle between a multitude of Utopias struggling to gain supremacy and power. During authoritarian regimes – especially fascist, military and fundamentalist regimes – free speech and the artist’s imagination are curtailed, or outright banned. Historically, artists have responded by asserting a different utopia from the one in power, or they have sought to manifest a different reality through magical realism. In this panel, historical and current examples of magical realism were presented, and traditional and new strategies discussed.

Talk by Lasse Antonsen on “Carried by the Wind”

Sponsored by Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen and Studio 44 Apartments: www.studio44-apartments.com

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photos by dotgain. graphic design by david voss.

Kunstkraftwerk – Saalfelder Straße 8b 04179 Leipzig

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