The Berlin based French artist Cyprien Gaillard (* 1980) did a great installation at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Germany. It questions the way the Western society has been handling cultural heritage of other peoples. There are references to the reconstruction and relocation of the Pergamon altar from 159 b.C. to Mueseumsinsel Berlin in 1876.
Mr. Gaillard had 72,000 bottles of 'Efes' brand beer transported from Turkey to Germany and made a stepped pyramid out of these beer boxes. Efes means in Latin 'Ephesos' and is also a reference to the ancient Greek town Ephesos and its temple. Today, the remains of this temple can be found scattered in museums in London, Vienna, Selcuk, Izmir, Istambul and Efes.
At the opening, the audience was invited to help themselves from the beer pyramid. The discovery of the monument and its following consumption destroyed it - that's a great metphor for the colonial use of foreign works of art or mass tourism in general.
I went to see the show at the very last day and was surprised to see, that there was still something left of its original pyramid structure. It gained a certain popularity among young Berlin tourists to fetch a warm beer at an exhibition hall for free. And it was once again embarrassing to see how childish men behave even in the sheer presence of beer...
by Chris Neuschler
Cyprien Gaillard: 'The Recovery of Discovery' at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin
From 27 March - 22 May 2011