Places and faces of memory. Erwin Piscator's High Tech Revolutionary Cabaret. The music theatre of Brecht and Weill, enhanced by the sinuous voice of Lotte Lenya. The innocent and polymorphic genius of Paul O'Montis, the king of cabaret.

    The journals and clubs for gays and lesbians. Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Research, the temple of sexual and sentimental diversity. The gay clubs: the Silhouette, Café Monbijoux, Kleist Kasino and most of all, Eldorado, where the boundary between "male" and"female", between "homo" and "hetero" was so subtle that it would deceive the most discerning eye and sensitivity. The Berlin of theWeimar period has handed down to us many places and faces of the past, but also inimitable symbols of liberty, against discrimination and homophobicr epression. The photographic exhibition "Eldorado - A New Opening" gives back to us the current relevance of their symbolism, restoring their ethical and cultural value, which is universal, and inviting modern man to overcome the barriers of hatred, prejudice and fear in order to communicate with the "different" part of a world of equals. The exhibition contains works that restore shadows, lights, mists and reflections of a lost world. It is no wonder that photography played an essential role in Berlin culture in the 1920s and 1930s, and various courses in photography were held at the Bauhaus school - which was forced to close in 1933 by National-Socialist censorship.

The historical symbolism, our art work is based on, is never created with photomontage technology, because the subjects - often installations pertaining to matter - are placed on virtual backgrounds that reproduce images of the period. The conceptual layout of the exhibition covers contemporary homosexual history: from the golden morning of the Weimar period to the twilight of the persecution, and on then to the black night of the Holocaust, the bloody climax of intolerance, whose painful symbol is "Pierre Seel’s lover". But at the end, Eldorado opens its doors again, because by now it is a place of the mind and the soul, a paradigm of the right to be homosexual and the symbolic model of the equality between sexes.

Here, therefore, in a vision which is no longer gloomy, the new humankind that crowds the Motzstrasse and the Kalckreuthstrasse, the streets around the nightclubs: gays and lesbians, transvestites, transsexuals and transgenderists, but heterosexuals too: open-minded and creative men and women. Symbols of this new golden age, the icon Paul O'Montis - another victim of the Holocaust - and the "Berlin portraits" by Eva Robin's, the wonderful androgynous creature who describes herself as the "defender of sexual behaviour", a person the clientele at Eldorado would have adored. The exhibition centre, which is housed at Le Murate, a cloistered nuns' convent in the 15th Century and a prison until 1974 is itself an architectural and moral symbol of the event.

Download the catalogue (2.3MB)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Eldorado. A new opening.

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Eva Robin's Berliner portrait III
Photo by Steed Gamero

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Places and faces of memory. Erwin Piscator's High Tech Revolutionary Cabaret. The music theatre of Brecht and Weill, enhanced by the sinuous voice of Lotte Lenya. The innocent...


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