The artist Pàl Gerber was born in Hungary in 1956. His painting in shades of grey on the Berlin Wall is titled “Sag, welche wunderbaren Träume halten meinen Sinn umfangen” (“Tell me, what wonderful dreams hold my senses captive”). The title quotes a poem by nineteenth-century German author Mathilde Wesendonck.

Gerber’s painting on the Berlin Wall shows a grey surface with two identical, diagrammatical faces at the centre. Beneath them a poem by Mathilde Wesendonck is quoted:

“Tell me, what wonderful dreams
hold my senses captive
stopping them fading like empty froths
into bleak nothingness? (…)
Letting them grow, blossom
Dreaming, give off their perfume
Gently die down at your breast
And sink into the tomb.”

Gerber’s work leaves much room for the viewers’ own reflections.

Born in 1956, Gerber grew up in the Hungarian town Tatabánya. The industrial surroundings of his youth in Communist Hungary influenced his art, as shown in his use of grey and arrangements of objects. While Gerber’s style changed with the revolution of the 1990s, his work continued to address the central theme of dialogue with the outside world and mainstream culture. In 2010, the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest mounted a retrospective of the artist’s 25-year career.

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