Esther Schipper

The gallery space was stuffed to the gills with neatly arranged East German refuse—that is, you instantly think of refuse when you see the faded flags, the old toys, the gray paper bags and yellowed boxes, the jars and bottles, the blue work smocks—the kind of stuff you get rid of when you feel it’s old, useless, or defective. And you think of the (former) German Democratic Republic, a deceased system, as soon as you take a close look at these objects, for example, the cross on the wall. This cross, roughly constructed, is made up of metal, an East German license plate, and a toy car (a Trabi, of course). The title, easy to understand, prosaic, and vaguely sentimental, is Meinem Freund Trabi (To my friend Trabi; all works 1991). The materials, we are told, actually come from the former GDR and from garbage—at least most of them do. A few were sold or given to the artist. But today, East

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