With the XV. Rohkunstbau "Three Colours-Blue White RED" in Villa Kellermann in Potsdam, the festival takes a further step along a path of artistic exploration which initially began in 2006 with the "Three Colours-BLUE White Red" project in Gross Leuthen Castle and continued with "Three Colours-Blue WHITE Red" in the Mansion of Sacrow. Yet what is at the core of the Rohkunstbau "Three Colours-Blue White Red" trilogy and, hence, at the heart of this third section, is not just a socio-political inquiry into the democratic ideal itself. Over 200 years have passed since Thomas Jefferson formulated, with Lafayette’s close circle of notable French revolutionaries, the three grand ideals of democracy: freedom, equality, and fraternity. In today’s world of rekindled global religious fundamentalism and anti-terrorism policies, discontent with democracy and the rejection of a European constitution, with growing poverty, especially child poverty, it is time to question how well we have made these ideals a reality, and what meaning they have.
The process should begin with each individual. For this reason, the Rohkunstbau trilogy has deliberately taken Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours: Blue, White, Red as its leitmotif. Like Kieślowski, we are concerned with individual destinies, experiences, and narratives, and we too foreground the personal and the private. Villa Kellermann’s seeming exclusiveness and prime position are deceptive. The dichotomy between the neighbourhood of the new social elite of Berlin and Potsdam and the state of the building itself, rapidly resembling a ruin, symbolises the growing visible divide in society. How much fraternity is necessary — and how much would really be feasible?
The artists dealing with these questions are:
Here, rather than discouraging the visitor, the perceptual tangibility of the works provide an immediate access, an approach allowing far greater engagement with the topic. In this way, we hope to come closer to realising our goal of bringing contemporary art into the centre of societal discourse, even beyond the borders of our home region of Berlin-Brandenburg. That aim not only reflects the hopes of people in Berlin’s environs, but also the rapidly growing international art public fan club, tired of hopping from one biennial, trade fair and art museum to another that is just the same. This year’s Rohkunstbau could be saved at the last minute thanks to Gisa and Hans-Joachim Sander’s generous invitation to use the villa they had recently bought, and which is soon scheduled for complete renovation.
What we have achieved to date can assure all our past, present and perhaps future sponsors that this is an investment multiplying in unusually sustainable ways. Rohkunstbau is an institution that views each artist, visitor, festival guest and sponsor as an active participant in the project. Only through them can we continue to develop and disseminate this idea — an idea that allows contemporary art to be discovered, and re-discovered, in an independent and individual fashion.