Disappearing Wall
European Diversity

Opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in the Polish city of Poznan
Opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in the Polish city of Poznan | Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

The interactive wall installation “Disappearing Wall” combines quotes from European high and pop culture to demonstrate Europe’s diversity – it will be shown in 17 cities in ten countries this year. 

Whether it’s a quote from Hannah Arendt, a lyric from a Beatles tune, a line from the film Amélie, or a statement by the Hungarian Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész, the quotes chosen in local competitions for the installations are diverse. Now they are being engraved – in the original language and in translation – on 6,000 wooden blocks. The blocks form the core elements of the “Disappearing Walls” – public space installations that will be set up in central locations in ten European countries from summer 2020. The countries involved include Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain/Northern Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.

Impressions of the Opening in Brussels and Antwerp

  • Die Wand Antwerpen 1 Photo: © Lillo Mendola

    The disappearing wall in Antwerp from 19.09.-20.09.2020

  • Die verschwindende Wand 3 Photo: ©Lillo Mendola

    The disappearing wall in Antwerp from 19.09.-20.09.2020

  • Die Verschwindende Wand 4 Photo: ©Lillo Mendola

    The disappearing wall in Antwerp from 19.09.-20.09.2020

  • Die Wand Antwerpen 5 Photo: ©Lillo Mendola

    The disappearing wall in Antwerp from 19.09.-20.09.2020 with the German embassador Martin Kotthaus and director of the Goethe-Institut in Belgium Dr. Elke Kaschl Mohni

  • Wand Antwerpen 6 Photo: ©Lillo Mendola

    opening-speech held by the director of the Goethe-Institut in Belgium Dr. Elke Kaschl Mohni at the art installation "the disappearing wall"

  • Die Wand 7 Photo: ©Lillo Mendola

    The disappearing wall in Antwerp on the weekend of the 19th and 20th september 2020

  • Wand 8 Photo: ©Lillo Mendola

    visitors at the installation

  • Wand in Brüssel Photo: ©Lillo Mendola

    The disappearing wall in Brussels

  • Bürgermeister von Brüssel bei der Wand Foto (Zuschnitt): ©Lillo Mendola

    The mayor of Brussels Philippe Close visited the wall.

  • Wand auf der Grand-Place Foto (Zuschnitt): ©Lillo Mendola

    The disappearing wall on the Grand Place/Grote Markt in Brussels.

  • Wand auf der Grande-Place Foto (Ausschnitt): ©Lillo Mendola

    a look through the installation on the Grand Place/Grote Markt in Brussels

  • Wand auf der Grand-Place Foto (Ausschnitt): ©Lillo Mendola

    the installation was to be found in Brussels on the 3rd and 4th of october

Impressions of the Opening in Belfast

Impressions of the Opening in SEGOVIA

© Celia de Coca
Eröffnung Verschwindende Wand - HAY Festival Segovia, 18. September 2020

Impressions of the opening in Gdansk

  • A visitor looks through the interactive installation of the “Disappearing Wall” Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    Shortly after the opening, the first citation blocks were already gone: On Sunday, 30 August 2020, the “Disappearing Wall” was unveiled in Gdansk.

  • At the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in Gdansk (from left to right): Cornelia Pieper, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Gdansk, Nicola Beer, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Piotr Kowalczuk, Vice-President of the City of Gdansk, and Christoph Bartmann, Director of the Goethe-Institut Warsaw Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    At the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in Gdansk (from left to right): Cornelia Pieper, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Gdansk, Nicola Beer, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Piotr Kowalczuk, Vice-President of the City of Gdansk, and Christoph Bartmann, Director of the Goethe-Institut Warsaw

  • A man unveils the interactive installation. Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    The interactive installation was unveiled on Sunday afternoon (30.8.) in Gdansk ...

  • Visitors* pull wooden blocks with quotations printed on them out of the wall. Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    ... afterwards the visitors were allowed to take home a quotation on a wooden block.

  • Nicola Beer, Vice-President of the European Parliament, speaks at the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in Gdansk. Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    Nicola Beer, Vice-President of the European Parliament, speaks at the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in Gdansk.

  • Big rush at the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in Danzig Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    Big rush at the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in Danzig

  • Visitors* pull wooden blocks with quotations printed on them out of the wall. Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    Little by little the wall disappears: the quotations were all taken away after only a short time.

  • The guests at the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” (from left to right ): Aleksandra Szymańska (Head of Instytut Kultury Miejskiej), Magdalena Adamowicz (Member of the European Parliament and widow of the assassinated Mayor of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz) with her daughter, Cornelia Pieper (Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Gdansk), interpreter, Nicola Beer (Vice-President of the European Parliament), Piotr Kowalczuk (Vice-President of the City of Gdansk) and Christoph Bartmann (Director of the Goethe Institute Warsaw). Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    The guests at the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” (from left to right ): Aleksandra Szymańska (Head of Instytut Kultury Miejskiej), Magdalena Adamowicz (Member of the European Parliament and widow of the assassinated Mayor of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz) with her daughter, Cornelia Pieper (Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Gdansk), interpreter, Nicola Beer (Vice-President of the European Parliament), Piotr Kowalczuk (Vice-President of the City of Gdansk) and Christoph Bartmann (Director of the Goethe Institute Warsaw).

  • A quotation from climate activist Greta Thunberg on a wooden block. Photo (detail): Bartosz Bańka © Goethe-Institut

    A quotation from climate activist Greta Thunberg on a wooden block.

Impressions of the opening in Poznan

  • A woman stands in front of the installation of the “Disappearing Wall” and reads a quotation Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    At the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in the Polish city of Poznan on Monday, August 24, 2020

  • People stand before the “disappearing wall” Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    Big rush: Every visitor has the opportunity to take a block of quotes home with them.

  • People stand before the “disappearing wall” Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    At the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in the Polish city of Poznan on Monday, August 24, 2020

  • Quotations from Lewis Carroll and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on wooden blocks Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    Submitted quotations from Lewis Carroll and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on wooden blocks

  • People stand before the “disappearing wall” Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    At the opening of the “Disappearing Wall” in the Polish city of Poznan on Monday, August 24, 2020

  • People stand before the “disappearing wall” Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    Big rush: Every visitor has the opportunity to take a block of quotes home with them.

  • People stand before the “disappearing wall” Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    Big rush: Every visitor has the opportunity to take a block of quotes home with them.

  • Submitted quotations from Lewis Carroll and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on wooden blocks Photo (detail): © Malta Festival Poznań 2020, Fot. Maciej Zakrzewski

    Submitted quotations from Lewis Carroll and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on wooden blocks

After the installation’s unveiling, passers-by will be permitted to take a block of quotes home with them. All that will remain is the transparent Plexiglas grid that held them: the wall will disappear. The interactive wall installation “Disappearing Wall” is based on an idea proposed by Maria Yablonina in a workshop carried out by the architect and engineer Werner Sobek and initiated by the Goethe-Institut.

Submitted quotations - illustrated by artists

  • „Giorraíonn beirt bóthar“ (Two shorten the road): Fiona McDonnell illustrated the Irish proverb. Illustration: © Fiona McDonnell

    „Giorraíonn beirt bóthar“ (Two shorten the road): Fiona McDonnell illustrated the Irish proverb.

  • “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”: The quote from the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir was illustrated – in the original language – by Fiona McDonnell. Illustration: © Fiona McDonnell

    “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”: The quote from the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir was illustrated – in the original language – by Fiona McDonnell.

  • “How wonderful it is, to be silent with someone”: Aleksandra Cieślak illustrated the quotation of the German writer and journalist Kurt Tucholsky. Illustration: © Aleksandra Cieślak

    “How wonderful it is, to be silent with someone”: Aleksandra Cieślak illustrated the quotation of the German writer and journalist Kurt Tucholsky.

  • “I do hope that, as one of the consequences of this crisis, we will awake as thinking beings”: The quotation of the Moroccan-Belgian author Rachida Lamrabet was illustrated by Tiziana Jill Beck. Illustration: © Tiziana Jill Beck

    “I do hope that, as one of the consequences of this crisis, we will awake as thinking beings”: The quotation of the Moroccan-Belgian author Rachida Lamrabet was illustrated by Tiziana Jill Beck.

  • “If you build a wall think of what you leave outside it”: the quotation from the Italian writer Italo Calvino was artistically interpreted by the Spaniard Isidro Ferrer. Illustration: © Isidro Ferrer

    “If you build a wall think of what you leave outside it”: the quotation from the Italian writer Italo Calvino was artistically interpreted by the Spaniard Isidro Ferrer.

  • “Roots and wings. But let the wings grow roots and the roots fly”: The quotation of the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez was artistically interpreted by the Spaniard Isidro Ferrer. Illustration: © Isidro Ferrer

    “Roots and wings. But let the wings grow roots and the roots fly”: The quotation of the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez was artistically interpreted by the Spaniard Isidro Ferrer.

Dates and locations of the Disappearing Walls*:

  • 24 to 27 August: Poznań
  • 30 August to 1 September: Gdańsk
  • 18 September: Segovia (Spain)
  • 18 to 20 September: Warsaw
  • 19 to 20 September: Antwerp
  • 25 September: Vilnius
  • 25 to 27 September: Thessaloniki
  • 1 to 10 October: Torino
  • 3 to 4 October: Brussels
  • 10 to 21 October: The Hague
  • 21 October to 11 November: Belfast
  • 24 to 25 October: Nicosia
  • 24 October to 4 November: Rotterdam
  • 6 to 8 November: Madrid 
  • 18 to 25 November: Klaipėda

*subject to change

The “Disappearing Wall” is a project by the Goethe-Institut. Supported with special funds from the Federal Foreign Office for the German EU Council Presidency. 
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