"Art and architecture in the GDR"
German cultural heritage also contains the cultural heritage of the former GDR, including a large number of artworks in the public space. Despite their often identity-forming character, quite a few of these works have been destroyed or transformed, suffering from decay, demolition and often a lack of appreciation. The Wüstenrot Foundation has therefore initiated the program "Art and architecture GDR".
Murals by Spanish artist Josep Renau (1907-1982) are among the most outstanding works of building-related art in the GDR, today only preserved in Halle (Saale) and Erfurt.
In the planned city of Halle-Neustadt, there was a political-ideological concept for each housing complex that was to be conveyed through art. In 1968, the Advisory Council for Fine Arts and Architecture commissioned Josep Renau for this task. He designed a complex mural panorama as part of which the two works "The forces of nature and technology controlled by man" and "Unity of the working class and founding of the GDR" were created. Completed in 1974, the tile pictures also constitute Renau's first major project in the GDR and his first exterior mural design.
The left mural was repaired in 2005 by order of the city of Halle. The mosaic "Unity of the Working Class and the Founding of the GDR ", on the other hand, shows clear damage today. In a joint cooperation project between the city of Halle (Saale) and the Wüstenrot Foundation, the mosaic is now undergoing extensive restoration. The work should be completed by the end of the year.