"Black Form - Dedicated to the Missing Jews"
Location: Platz der Republik
In front of, and parallel to, the Altona Town Hall.
"Black Form - Dedicated to the Missing Jews"The Black Form commemorates the Jewish communities eradicated by the Nazi Tyranny.
The American artist Sol LeWitt initially created the Black Form for the 1987 Münster "Sculpture Project". Following the project, Münster declined to purchase the work.
Hamburg-Altona had for years considered erecting a memorial to the Jewish communities devastated by the Nazi Tyranny. In November 1989 Sol LeWitt, having been commissioned for a work, presented Hamburg's Department of Culture the sculpture "Black Form - Dedicated to the Missing Jews".
He donated his fee for the "most important piece I have yet created" to the Foundation for the History of the German Jews.
The black cuboid is situated at the Altona Town Hall end of the Platz der Republik, centrally positioned, in front of and parallel to the impressive Altona Town Hall. The 5·5m long, 2m high, and 2m wide cuboid, constructed of light concrete blocks, is built upon a foundation, and finally painted in dense black. In accordance with the artist's conception the sculpture carries no inscription. Two plaques either side of the sculpture give an explanation to its origin in that they sketch the history of the Altona Jewish community.
The Altona Jewish community originated in the 16th century only shortly after the founding of Altona itself. The city and the Altona Jewish community flourished together. In 1669 the Hamburg, Altona and Wandsbek Jewish communities united in a "triple community", Altona being the seat of the chief rabbi. In 1941 the methodical deportation of Altona Jews began. The "Large Synagogue", one of the few buildings not demolished by the Nazis, was totally destroyed by allied bombing in July 1943, together with the surrounding Altstadt district of Altona.
Sol LeWitt had conceived the "Black Form" explicitly to be positioned in front of a prestigious building like the Palace of Münster. Today it is positioned in front of the impressive Altona Town Hall. The simplicity of the form is in direct contrast to the impressive building.
The Black Form belongs to the group of works of pyramids and cubes begun at the beginning of the 1980s. It is the sole black sculpture within a group of otherwise white painted works. The "Black Form - Dedicated to the Missing Jews" expresses a painful absence.