Ralph Fleck meets former students

Social Palace World Cup 2006
© Ralph Fleck / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Ralph Fleck

Sozialpalast WM 2006 / Social Palace World Cup 2006, 2016

Oil on canvas
200 × 200 cm

on the reverse signed, dated and inscribed
(FLECKR/M 120)

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In the intoxication of colors, the appeal of the representational becomes the actual motif. It is initially irrelevant that Ralph Fleck's painting "Sozialpalast WM 2006" monumentally stages a social hotspot: under the motto "Wohnen am Kleistpark" (Living at the Kleist Park) in Berlin Schöneberg, the architect Jürgen Sawade and others built the then exemplary, six-story housing complex for over 500 residential units of four people each in 1974-77. It is obvious that the building, which soon became popularly known as the "Social Palace," fell into disrepair over time in the face of social grievances and vandalism, so that around the turn of the century, even the demolition of the concrete giant was under discussion. What interested Fleck was, on the one hand, the structure of the balcony front, which seems to be divided into countless cells, each in turn revealing small cosms of things (curtains, satellite dishes) and building details (parapets, windows). On the other hand, he used the 2006 World Cup to transform what is in itself a barren backdrop into a magnificent symphony of color. The reality will have been different - the artist was certainly primarily, if not exclusively, concerned with the color accents. The high percentage of residents with a migration background is expressed by the different flags. But what looks like a documentary photograph is, on closer inspection, a lustily painted, impasto orgy of color. And incidentally, Ralph Fleck has obviously struck a nerve - when the picture was taken in 2016, the residential complex was about to be listed as a historic monument. As a result of a renaming competition, the "Sozialpalast" became the "Pallasseum.
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