In Erinnerung an Dani Karavan
(7. Dezember 1930 - 29. Mai 2021)
2018 feierten wir "25 Jahre Straße der Menschenrechte". Zu diesem Anlass wurde der Künstler Dani Karavan zum Ehrenbürger Nürnbergs ernannt. Dankenswerterweise stand er bei seinen Besuch in der KREIS Galerie für ein Interview zur Verfügung. Das Gespräch führte Regina Rüdebusch M.A. Die Audio-Aufzeichnung transkribierte Ingrid Kalenda M.A. und übersetzte den Text ins deutsche.
How did you come up with the idea to combine the concept of the columns with the human rights?
First of all when I was asked to do a work here I had a lot of doubt I should do anything in Nürnberg. But then I was really pushed by a friend of mine, Brockhaus, who was the curator of my work in the Ludwig Museum and then he became director of the Lehmbruck Museum. And he said to me „Dani you should do it“. Finally I was convinced.
Then I started to think what can I do here as this place is very narrow and the buildings are so different and the style in material. I will create a kind of wall by the columns and then the people will see between the columns the different kind of architecture and buildings.
Then came the question how many columns and then I thought maybe the creation of human rights and the French revolution. It means the idea of human rights came to me because of Nürnberg, to do something in contrary of the name of this town who is related to racism and antisemitism.
And then I find out it’s about seventeen is nothing, so I find out that the creation of human rights the international of 48 is thirty. And it fits really very good to the place and when you have traffic so this I put it like it was in the earth and you see only the top. And I thought I should add by the columns, so I decide to put one tree, a column oak tree. This is the name of this particular tree. And then I thought I should write the thirty paragraphs in German so each citizen here could read it. But I make it smaller because you cannot go around several times and I had the president of the Human Rights Society International, he is a friend of mine, and he make it shorter so you can read it and don’t have to turn around.
And then I said that I should make it conceptually with languages. First of all the language which suffered from nazi regime and then after those who fighting for human rights for themself. Yiddish was the first one and then it was Polish I think and Czech and went on and on and on.
And the fifteenth sentence is each man has the right to have his own homeland. This was in my political position, this was very good to support the Palastinian for their rights to homeland because we got our right but we didn’t get it to them. I think to have two countries that one is a Jewish one and one is Arab. So this is the story of this Way of Human Rights. Then after many years I find out by chance that one column that belongs to the underground passage is really on the same place where one column of my Way of Human Rights.
How do you see this artwork from your point of view from today?
I think now it may be even much more important because now the rights and the way semi-fascists and semi-nazi movements are growing up all over Europe and also in Israel. So I think this is very important that it exist. Maybe one day people will be understanding what is going on today and then it will have its importance - really in the life of people.
What do you think is the meaning of the „Way of Human Rights“ for Nuremberg and the citizens? Do you think there is a special meaning?
I think so, I not know, I cannot talk on behalf of the people of Nürnberg. They should say what they feel. I cannot tell. I hope they feel well with it. I hope that they feel that they are not to be blamed on what Hitler did and the nazi regime.
How do you feel when you come back these days and look back on how this artwork developed?
The catalogue that the museum published, they show different performance that is being done here on this Way of Human Rights and it makes me feel good. I think that work of art, I don’t want to say push but creates in people that they create to this work their own work of art by performing here. That’s something very important. This is what for me the catalogue is that you publish, for me this is really the thing. That became the twin of the catalogue that the gallery published. It’s a twin catalogues.
Publikationen zur Straße der Menschenrechte (Auswahl)
Kultur und Barbarei. Blog_Beitrag von Daniel Hess 2021
Die Straße der Menschenrechte. Eine Installation von Dani Karavan im Germanischen Nationalmuseum / The Way of Human Rights. A site-specific sculpture by Dani Karavan in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Hrsg. von G. Ulrich Großmann und Sonja Mißfeldt. Nürnberg 2018.
Menschenrechte in Stein gemeißelt und doch lebendig. Broschüre anlässlich 70 Jahre Allgemeine Erklärung der Menschenrechte und 25 Jahre Straße der Menschenrechte. Herausgeber: Nürnberger Menschenrechtszentrum e.V. Nürnberg 2018.
Dani Karavan: Straße der Menschenrechte – Way of Human Rights. Hrsg. von Peter Laub, Konrad Scheurmann. Bonn / Nürnberg 1995.