Close-up of the figure with sidelocks
Herschel and Gretel, 1995/1998, based on a joint concept with Patricia Pisani

Victor Kégli

Herschel and Gretel in the Jewish Museum Berlin2011

One of the works shown in the "How German is it?" exhibition - entitled "Herschel and Gretel in the Jewish Museum Berlin" - was set up in front of the museum's entrance. Its two figures, Herschel and Gretel, bow to each other in a welcoming gesture.

The couple has its origins in a submission to a competition held in the 1990s for a Berlin Wall memorial. One special feature of the work is that it was less intent on fulfilling the official requirements for such a memorial than ironically deconstructing and poking fun at them.

The original design called for viewers to insert a coin, causing the figures to bow in front of a section of the Berlin Wall - analogous to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

The toy-like aesthetic of the figures provides a commentary on the function performed by many memorial sites in Berlin as part of the city's tourism program. Herschel, an Orthodox Jew, and Gretel, depicted with blonde pigtails, are colorful and entertaining figures that recall traditional souvenirs from the Erzgebirge mountains.

Victor Kégli was born in Bietigheim, Germany, in 1964 and lives and works in Berlin. His website can be viewed at