Grenzgänger (Borderliners) is the name of the exhibition at the Goethe-Institute in Rotterdam, where invited artists and architects present their designs and installations. All of the works are the result of the creative confrontation of emigrated German artists and architects with the reunification of former West Germany and East Germany 20 years ago. How has the event of the century influenced people and living spaces? In their design, The Deconstruction of Gray, Gemma Koppen and Tanja C. Vollmer reflect on the prejudiced idea of a grey everyday life in former East Germany, which stood at the beginning of a departure into a promising colorfulness. Their installation painfully shows the rupture that went through the division of many families and its distorted healing. The struggle, twisting and breaking for disappointment, hope, innovation, preservation. “In the end, what belongs together grows together” and yet something disturbing remains, which does not seem right in the eye of the beholder. But if you look more closely, you will see union as potential, distortion as a warning and black as the peaceful sum of all colors. The architectural figure is exhibited for four weeks in Rotterdam and then transferred to Kopvol’s Limburg studio.


Koppen, G., & Vollmer, T. C. (2009). De deconstructie van grijs. In Goethe-Institut Niederlande (Ed.), Grensganger (pp. XXIV–XXXI). Rotterdam: Goethe-Institut Niederlande.

Photography installation: Monique Scuric

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