Franka Kaßner’s work “Schlaf, Bürger, schlaf!” commemorates the November events of 1918 in Bavaria and Kurt Eisner, who proclaimed the Free State of Bavaria from 7 to 8 November. On the front of the billboard appears the musical notation of the German nursery rhyme “Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!” (“Sleep, my child, sleep”) with modified lyrics to “Schlaf, Bürger, schlaf!” (“Sleep, my fellow German, sleep!”). The deceptive, lulling melody drastically contradicts the content of the lyrics. The reverse side is designed in bright red monochrome with a footnote on Kurt Eisner.
Reminiscent of Kurt Eisner – pacifist idealist and founder of the Free State of Bavaria – the work appeals to our social and political responsibility to preserve democracy. “Schlaf, Bürger, schlaf!” is the opening to a song which, in just a few lines, resonates with the compelling political reality of today. The subversive framing of this captured, fleeting medium builds awareness of both historical and current events and at the same time plays at a formal level with the consumption-oriented and bold aesthetic of billboards as ‘monuments to our present’ in the public space.
Franka Kaßner, born in 1976 in Oschatz, lives and works in Munich and Leipzig.