Berlin<>Rio: Spuren und Erinnerungen
"Berlin<>Rio: Spuren und Erinnerungen" addresses a family’s life in different political and cultural systems by following its spatial and chronological development across five generations. We see the Jewish family of Valentin Manheimer in its upward social rise at the time of the German Empire and Weimar Republic, persecution under National Socialism, emigration and establishment in Brazil, and then remigration to Germany.
In 1887 court painter Anton von Werner was commissioned to make a picture celebrating Councillor of Commerce Valentin Manheimer’s seventieth birthday. It shows him and his family in the garden of their villa on Bellevuestraße in Berlin-Tiergarten; the painting is now part of the permanent collection at the German Historical Museum. In 1839 Valentin Manheimer founded on Oberwallstraße the city’s first business for ladies’ wear, employing more than 8,000 people. Almost 100 years later, his grandson, Dr. Bruno Valentin, a renowned orthopaedist and researcher, had to flee from Nazi Germany to Brazil.
Then, in 2010, things came full circle when art historian and photographer Andreas Valentin visited Berlin for the first time. The exhibition’s curator, Dr. Andreas Valentin, lives in Rio de Janeiro and is a fifth-generation Valentin. Working with historical photographs and documents from his family’s archives, he creates films as well as photographic re-enactments.
In this way, Germany reaches out towards Brazil – rather, homeland to exile – and vice versa.
Recently, the project was awarded a prize by the National Arts Foundation of Brazil.
photos © Gerhard Haug