From 3.10. to 18.10.2020, a public painting on mobile billboards took place on Steinplatz (Berlin). The project took place in cooperation with the Berlin-Charlottenburg district office. "Public Paintings" is an open project series of the Akademie für Malerei Berlin. This series gives artists the opportunity to present themselves and their work in public space. They leave the usual picture medium and take on the challenge that the poster wall format and working in the open air entail. Passers-by are invited to follow the creation of the paintings in this project series and, in some cases, to take part in it.

What is Public Painting?

Simply put, it is a form of public art, i.e. public art in public space with the means of painting. What distinguishes public art is the unique connection between the art of its making, its place and its meaning. Placed in public places, this art is there for all to see, a form of collective communal expression. Public art reflects the way we see the world - the artist's response to our time and place in relation to our own sense of self.
Today, public art can take a variety of shapes, sizes and scales - and it can be temporary or permanent. It can be fifty metres high or as small as the stone under your shoe. Its form can be abstract or realistic (or both). It can be site-specific or contrast with its surroundings.
It often interprets the history of the place and its inhabitants and perhaps addresses a social or environmental issue. Public art can include murals, sculptures, monuments, integrated architectural or landscape works, community art, digital new media and even performances and festivals! The Public Painting project in Stone Square consisted of mobile billboards that were taken down after the project.
Public art is art that is created in a public process for the general public. Public art seeks to embody public or universal concepts rather than commercial, party political or personal concepts or interests. In particular, public art is also the direct or indirect product of a public process of creation, acquisition and/or maintenance. Art attracts attention, that is its function. Therefore, public art can cause controversy. Differing opinions among the public are inevitable, and public art is an interactive process involving artists, architects, designers, residents, politicians, licensing authorities, funders and construction teams. The challenge of this collaborative process is to deal creatively with controversial opinions.

We build on you - Steinplatz yesterday and today

With her project, Karin Stumpf created an image in 7 days that was jointly developed by passers-by, residents, traces in the surroundings (e.g. photos, decals on poles, posters, etc.) and the artist. In the interaction between viewer and artist, a collective work was created. The artist was thus the unifying element that...
  • recognises what is common and brings it together
  • points out opposites and stimulates discussion
  • which stimulates conversation, exchange
  • that shows artistic options and possibilities
  • sorts, sorts out, completes, continues
There are three monuments on Steinplatz. In addition, the square is surrounded by four listed buildings. The square lives from this diversity and its (short) history. The aim was to artistically depict precisely this diversity, its history and the relationship to the present. Layer by layer, the historical cornerstones of the square were completed and built up with collages and paintings. Passers-by and representatives of Steinplatz were explicitly invited to contribute their "story", their view of the square with mementos, sketches and photos. Beforehand, tradespeople, residents and students were contacted and asked to contribute their memories, their history, their current experiences, with each day dedicated to a different theme.
The questions posed were intended to encourage the contributors to make personal contributions:
  • 3.10 (1696) - Stone #1 - The UdK: Berlin's oldest university. How has the role of the university changed over the years, how do students experience today's virtual semesters? What role do women play at the university and in the arts? Until 1918, they were excluded. The first female professor (Renee Sintenis) was appointed in 1931, the second (Rebecca Horn) only in 1989.
  • 4.10 (1757) - Stone #2 - Stone Monument: Who was Baron von Stein? What do local residents and passers-by know about the Freiherr? How could he be brought closer to the passers-by? Stein was a Prussian civil servant, statesman and reformer. He saved the state treasury from the French and abolished the peasants' hereditary servitude. Towns are allowed to govern themselves, Humbodt reforms the school system on Stein's behalf.
  • 5.10 (1848-1866) - Stone #3 - Residents of the Gründerzeit tenements (between Uhlandstrasse and Carmerstrasse): What do they know about the history of the square? What does it mean to them? What do they like, what is missing? Bernhard Weiss, police vice-president, Jew, lived there and was almost captured by the Nazis.
    1885 - Creation of the Steinplatz
  • 6.10 (1913) - Stone #4 - Hotel am Steinplatz: What role did and does gastronomy play in the cohesion of the neighbourhood? What stories are known? What anonymous observations are there? Built by August Endell Max Zellermayer acquires the hotel in 1913, betrayed in 1933. Hotel confiscated by the navy during the war and damaged by bombs. During the Second World War, tomatoes are grown on the roof, mushrooms in the cellar and the goat Beate is kept in the courtyard.
  • 7.10 (1918-1945) - Stone #5 - Memorial stone for the victims of National Socialism - What other traces did National Socialism leave here in the region? What atrocities were committed here? Does right-wing extremism still have a voice here?
  • 8.10 (1927-1953) - Stone #6 - Memorial stone for the victims of Stalinism - What connection is there today to the former Soviet Union? Is there still an East-West way of thinking in Berlin? How is the current Russia and Ukraine policy perceived? This is the first memorial for the victims of Stalinism. A commemoration ceremony will take place on 17.6.
  • 9.10 (1955) - Stone # 7 - Höchst House: The role of business in the residential area? Is there survival for entrepreneurs after the crisis? How do tradesmen support each other during the Corona crisis?
    Putting the stones together - Completing the picture