German Artists Return to Columbia for a Collaborative Symposium with Local Artists

COLUMBIA, S.C. —Between September 30 – October 11, four German artists from Kaiserslautern and six Columbia artists will create a permanent public Gesamtkunstwerk, a collaborative work of art, on and for the grounds of Columbia’s Stormwater Studios. The artwork is one component of an elaborate program under the moniker Heimat/Home that commemorates both the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Bauhaus, the enormously influential art school in Germany.

Aside from the creation of the Stormwater artwork, the program will present lectures about Bauhaus, contemporary German art and Germany before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall; an artists’ panel about the benefits of international exchange between artists; an unveiling of the public artwork with performances by artists, poets, and musicians; and an exhibition of current and past exchange participants at if ART Gallery. For a full program, see below.

"We are excited welcome our friends from Kaiserslautern back to Columbia," said Columbia World Affairs Council Executive Director Dickson Monk. "The collaborative exchange of artists between the sister cities, going back almost 20 years, continues to flourish with amazing creativity and depth. The visits are hallmarks of citizen diplomacy developing the cultural vibrancy of our cities with artwork for generations to enjoy as well as lifelong friendships between our communities. We look forward celebrating Columbia - Kaiserslautern's close relationship over the next two weeks."

The project is a partnership between the Columbia World Affairs Council (CWAC), the Columbia Development Corporation (CDC), if ART Gallery, Lewis + Clark Studio, and Stormwater Studios, all in Columbia, and the German Embassy and Goethe-Institut in Washington, DC. Funding is provided by the Goethe-Institut, CDC, and CWAC. The funding from the Goethe-Institut is part of the organization’s nationwide initiative, Deutschlandjahr USA/Year of German-American Friendship, under the slogan Wunderbar Together/Germany and the U.S.

The Columbia artists working on the public artwork are Eileen Blyth, Michaela Pilar Brown, Stephen Chesley, Clark Ellefson, Mike Williams, and David Yaghjian. The Kaiserslautern artists are Jörg Heieck, Reiner Mährlein, Silvia Rudolf, and Angelica Steinmacher. Columbia artist Janet Orselli and Columbia poet Al Black will be presenting performances and poetry readings by themselves and other Columbia poets and musicians.

(East) German native Mirjam Gerlach of Columbia architect firm Quackenbush Architects + Planners, Dr. Peter Chametzky of the University of South Carolina School of Visual Arts and Design, Dr. Gerald McDermott of the University’s Darla Moore School of Business and Dr. Agnes C. Mueller, director of the University’s Global Studies Program, will present lectures and talks.

“These artist exchanges always create great energy,” said if ART Gallery owner Wim Roefs, one of the event’s organizers. “The interaction between artists from different cultures triggers fruitful conversations and new ideas and results in great art. The mural-size paintings that came out of the exchange a few years ago are one example of that, and I can’t wait to see how the collaborative sculpture for Stormwater will turn out. Moreover, the Kaiserslautern artists are among the best in their region. They also work a lot as a group and organize art events almost non-stop. They combine excellence with organizational skills, which sets a great example for Columbia artists.”

The artists exchange between Columbia, S.C., and its German sister city Kaiserslautern started in 2000 with the shipment of a steel palmetto tree sculpture from Columbia to Kaiserslautern. Since 2001, some two dozen Columbia and Kaiserslautern artists have visited and worked in each other’s cities. Most recently, in 2016, Columbia artists participating in an exhibition, an outdoor installation project, and a multi-disciplinary performance in Kaiserslautern included Blyth, Brown, and Wideman-Davis Dance. In 2014, Columbia’s Congaree Vista Guild brought Mährlein and his Kaiserslautern colleague Klaus Hartmann to Columbia to create the public sculpture at the tunnel at Lady and Lincoln Streets. In 2012 and 2013, artists from both cities created two mural-size paintings that were exhibited in Columbia and Kaiserslautern.

For more information, visit


September 30 – October 11, daytime

Creation of public artwork at Stormwater Studios at Pendleton and Huger Streets.

Tuesday, October 1, 7:30 p.m.

The Fall of the Wall, talks by Dr. Agnes C. Mueller, director, University of South Carolina Global Studies Program, and Dr. Gerald McDermott, professor of international business, University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business

Where: if ART Gallery, 1223 Lincoln St.

Co-sponsored by the USC Global Studies Program

Wednesday, October 2, 7:30 p.m.

100 Years Bauhaus: Its Influence on Art & Architecture Then & Now, talk by Mirjam Gerlach, Quackenbush Architects + Planners, Columbia, SC

Where: if ART Gallery, 1223 Lincoln St.

Friday, October. 4, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Artists’ Reception for Heimat / Home, an exhibition of current and past participants in the Columbia – Kaiserslautern Artists Exchange.

Where: if ART Gallery, 1223 Lincoln St.

Tuesday, October 8, 7:30 p.m.

Benefits of International Artists Exchange, a panel discussion with artists participating in the Columbia–Kaiserslautern Exchange.

Where: if ART Gallery, 1223 Lincoln St.

Wednesday, October 9, 7:00 p.m.

Since 1989: New Art in a Multicultural Germany, talk by Dr. Peter Chametzky, art historian, University of South Carolina School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD)

Where: SVAD, McMaster College, Room 239, corner of Pickens & Senate Streets, Co-sponsored by the USC Global Studies Program

Friday, October 11, 6:00 p.m.

Presentation of collaborative public artwork, performances & poetry, followed by artists’ reception.

Where: Stormwater Studios & Lewis + Clark Studio, Pendleton & Huger Streets

Attached, images of:

· Maziar Moradi, Untitled, from series I become German, 2008-2013, c-print (part of the Chametzki October 9 lecture)

· Klaus Hartmann & Reiner Mährlein, Connecting Volumes, 2014, Cor-Ten steel (located at Lady and Lincoln Streets, at the tunnel, in Columbia)

· Michaela Pilar Brown, Untitled, 2018, photo on aluminum (if ART Gallery exhibition)

· Silvia Rudolf, Troubled Winds on Gervais Street, 2015, mixed media (if ART Gallery exhibition)

· Reiner Mährlein, Intercalé II, 2009, steel granite (if ART Gallery exhibition)

· Logo Wunderbar Together project, Goethe-Institut, Washington, DC


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