Görlitz (dpa) – For weeks, a conflict has been brewing between the city of Görlitz and an artist over an installation in public space. This is the “backdrop” work within “Görlitzer Art”.

The work of art not far from the Neisse, in sight of the Polish Zgorzelec, takes up the debate on abortion in the neighboring country. This contradicts the concept retained by the jury, it is said from the town hall. Lisa Maria Baier, a former master class student at the University of Fine Arts Dresden, defends herself against the termination of the contract and the threat of dismantling – also legally.

“Scenery” is a stepped wooden podium with five cinema seats. Where the screen would be in a movie theater, there is a banner that says “aborcja bez granic” (abortion without borders). Baier reflects on the toughening of the abortion ban in Poland, a sensitive subject. “I want people to discuss, that’s the purpose of art in the public space.”

The city accuses him of installing a work of art that criticizes the policies of the Polish government instead of a work on the theme of the film city of Görlitz. One was “of course not of the opinion that art should not be political,” said a spokeswoman for the city. The “freedom of art in peace” is not for debate, it is about the contract concluded. Judging by this, what has been achieved does not match the award winning work.

The work is adapted to the highly politically charged location of the border with a view of Zgorzelec, Baier said. “For me, this is what defines art in public spaces.” The city accuses the breach of contract, that the work is “fundamentally different” and that the artistic quality is no longer given. If the competition was about “Görlitz as a city of cinema, to watch and to watch”, it is now about women’s rights and abortion in Poland. This is a “new work” – and it would not have been selected in the aesthetic evaluation.

Baier said that she had not thought of the “Grand Budapest Hotel” and the other films made in Görlitz when she heard “landscapes”. “For anyone who lives here and looks across the border, the same movie should still play out: that women’s rights are restricted there and no one is doing anything.” Your work should stimulate discussion. The 32-year-old has hung things like a top with the word ‘fundamental rights’ on the site fence which seals the troubled town hall area and thus also blocks access to her artwork. I work with that ”.

The performative use corresponds to Baier’s credo: “The starting point of participatory practices can be the intention to establish contact”. She is a conceptual artist and gender equality and women’s rights are present in her work. “You could have read it in my portfolio,” said the 32-year-old, who regularly encourages women to send her screaming videos on International Women’s Day. She then projects them on the walls of the house as a statement against the reduction of women to social skills.

His sketch for Görlitz already contained a sort of banner with a word in German, Polish, English as “placeholder”. “The trend towards Poland has taken hold,” Baier said. The Dresden Administrative Court granted the right to the city at the end of July. With the conclusion of the contract, Baier submitted to his conditions and the old principle that contracts must be honored also applies to concept artists. According to the judges, the fundamental right of artistic freedom opposes the withdrawal of the work of art.

According to Baier, no content requirements for implementation were made, she filed a complaint. The artistic freedom and the freedom guaranteed by the treaty have been “not at all ignored”. Now the Supreme Administrative Court of Saxony (OVG) is seized, a decision is pending. The “stumbling block” remains for now, and Baier hopes to continue until the end of July 2022. “I have given up all that is anti,” she said. “It’s food for thought.”