Kunstsammlungen am Theaterplatz
31. Mar 2021 – 2. May 2021

70 Years »Kunst am Bau« (Percent for art)

Blick ins Foyer der Stadthalle Chemnitz, Foto: Alexander Meyer © Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz | Alexander Meyer

70 Years »Kunst am Bau« (Percent for art)

The exhibition features projects under the heading »Kunst am Bau« (Percent for art), which have been created since 1950 on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. In that year, both the West German Bundestag and the East German Volkskammer resolved almost simultaneously to involve visual artists in government building projects. This resulted in a portion of the total construction costs for new buildings and renovations of state buildings being earmarked for art in the future. The German Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning, has put together a travelling exhibition dedicated to the function, history and variety of the different works commissioned in Germany. This exhibition is aimed at creating broader public awareness of the government’s 70-year commitment in this area.

In 2020, the federal government will celebrate 70 years of »Kunst am Bau« (Percent for art) in Germany. In 1950, almost at the same time, both the German Bundestag and the Volkskammer of the GDR decided on the participation of visual artists in state construction measures and earmarked a share of the construction sum for new buildings and the restoration of state buildings for art in the future. In order to convey to the public the 70 years of commitment in this field and the often outstanding Percent for art, the exhibition shows selected art-in-building projects that have been commissioned by the federal government and the GDR in Germany and abroad since 1950. The exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue in German and English.

The aim of the exhibition »70 Years of Kunst am Bau in Germany« is to show how diverse »Kunst am Bau« (Percent for art) can be in form and content and how it can contribute to the quality and statement of buildings: Through its close relationship to space and place, content and function, it can highlight a building or react to it and thus lend a specific place a special meaning.

The exhibition is divided into ten themes, whereby the three chapters on art in architecture from the founding phase of the two German states, on the expansion of state institutions in the West and East, and on the expansion of the joint capital Berlin after reunification follow a chronological dramaturgy, while the remaining thematic blocks contain self-contained
content on specific aspects of the genre. For example, there will be clusters dealing with art at embassies and foreign branches or at the Bundeswehr, but also those that focus on the diversity of federal institutions or convey art on buildings as a commentary on the reprogramming of historically burdened buildings. One section will be devoted to the development of art in architecture from the competition to completion, and another will address not only care and maintenance issues but also losses of art, in order to provide as comprehensive an overview as possible of percent for art and to honour art in architecture as a special architectural cultural achievement of our country. (Text: Ute Chibidziura)

The show at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz is complemented by specific activities focused on Karl-Marx-Stadt/Chemnitz, the city in which one of the GDR’s first offices for building-related art was established. The exhibition is accompanied by themed urban space tours and an academic symposium on »percent for art« and »Socialist Modernism«.

For further information please consult the website

The exhibition is organised by