Mutatis Mutandis 

One-Sided Story, Spinnerei, Halle 14, Leipzig, Germany, 2013

Curated by Candace Goodrich

“Light Under the Door,” (Ein Lichtspalt unter der Tür), Leipzig, 2012

 Archeological bricks, wood pedestals

Leipzig was created where two trade routes in Roman times crossed. Today the two street are named Hainstrasse and Brühl. They are now fairly small streets in the old city center. The larger ring road circling the old city center is nearby.

 

The bricks come from the Tuchhalle (Cloth Hall) on the Brühl (1837-1943), which was built at the intersection in 1837. Much of Leipzig’s history centers around these streets. The Brühl section was known as an international center for the fur trade in the 19th and early 20th century. Although comparatively few Jews lived in Leipzig, many Jewish families were involved in the cloth and fur trade. As the Nazi rose in power in the 1930s, the Jews were forced out of the area and the buildings were confiscated. One night in December 1943 the English Air Force bombed much of Leipzig’s city center, and the Tuchhalle was destroyed. After the war, the area was covered over and became a park.

 

A new shopping mall was under construction in 2013 at the intersection of Hainstrasse and Brühl. Due to the rich history of the site, archeologists were allowed to undertake extensive excavations, and much of the time was spent excavating the foundation of the Tuchhalle.

 

The excavations were coming to their conclusion while I was in Leipzig, and I was allowed by the archeologists to sample a selection of bricks before the area was handed over for construction.

 

The bricks are not significant in such a way that they now would need to be on display in a history museum. The archeologists actually collected bricks for me that they themselves were fascinated by, bricks with marks that showed how they were made, and brick with fingerprints, and so on, but I needed bricks that did not stand out, bricks that were not especially significant. They are ordinary bricks that held their part, played their role, in the presence of the building for a little more than 100 years.