Take a moment to look up at the museum façade. That’s where you’ll find the work by Kaiserring award winner Günther Uecker. A great nail juts out of the front of the exhibition building. It is part of the installation Gefährdung und Schutz (Endangerment and Protection), which Günther Uecker put on display at the Mönchehaus in 1983 when he was awarded the Kaiserring.
The artwork was spread across several other areas inside the museum. The installation in the vaulted cellar has been preserved and is occasionally open to museum visitors.
On the outside of the Mönchehaus Museum in Jakobistrasse, Uecker has placed a large shield shape made of lead, high up in a space between the timber frames. The sign is crisscrossed with nails like arrows, trying to penetrate the lead from all sides.
The work is entitled Goslarer Schutzschild – Goslar Protective Shield. Uecker made it for the museum collection in 1989.
The nail is the predominant feature of Günther Uecker's entire oeuvre.
As a young artist in the early 1960s, Uecker joined an artists’ group called Zero. The group turned its back on post-war art and called for a radical new beginning, calling for artists to focus on the present instead of the past.
At the time, nails by their hundreds covered canvases and objects in Uecker's work. They refracted the light, formed themselves into swarms and transformed everyday items into fetishes or alien objects.
Later, the nails changed from an aesthetic medium into a political medium. Since the 1980s, Günther Uecker has increasingly responded to history, to the personal trauma suffered by the war generation, and to contemporary events. The nail becomes an existential image of the "harm to humanity by humanity". It shows the contradiction inherent in the nature of things and of history. The nail has two ends, a tip and a head. It holds things together, connects and offers protection, but at the same time, it penetrates and destroys.
Foto 1: © Mönchehaus Museum Goslar
Foto 2: © Sascha Engel, Goslar
Foto 3: © Bernhard Heinze
Foto 4: © Inge Langner