On his birthday, Mayor Katharina Pötter and University President Prof. Susanne Menzel-Riedel opened the exhibitions in the presence of numerous guests. Also on his birthday, the city honored writer Lyudmila Ulitzkaya with the city's Peace Prize, named after Remarque.
With nearly 30 gifts, artists and writers from Germany and abroad are making this exhibition possible, highlighting the relevance of the author of "Nothing New in the West" to their own work. Just as Remarque transformed the catastrophes of his time into literature and thus made himself an author of world literature, the invited artists reflect Remarque's work once again with their works: Art creates art! For example, the collage by Andrei Liankevich, who traveled from Belarus to attend the opening of the exhibition, only reveals at second glance that he alienated the images with the help of artificial intelligence. When approached, the soldiers shown lose their faces, as it were, and thus their individuality. Images from the First World War frame a Ukrainian soldier. The graphic artist Peter Eickmeyer, who together with Gaby von Borstel has already written a much-acclaimed graphic novel for "Nothing New in the West," participates with a graphic that shows Remarque in the uniform of a First World War soldier on the market in front of the town hall in Osnabrück. The author of "Three Comrades," Shida Bazyar has donated the text "From Comrade to Comrade," which begins with a confession: "I don't know how to write about dying." She is certain that "but he knows [namely Remarque] how to write of dying." The gift from street artist C215, a.k.a. Christian Guémy, is still looking. He will produce graffiti on a facade for Remarque.
Framed by these gifts, "Networking Remarque" shows the writer's practical side of life in four showcases. "Remarque must have been a courageous man: as procrastinating and scrupulous as he may have been in his writing, he was as hands-on and decisive when it came to helping. 'Networking Remarque' shows the networks in which he participated," said Mayor Katharina Pötter at the opening. A world map above the visitors shows the spread of his works. He helped where he could help. Even with his own money. He put his celebrity at the service of the cause, even while in exile in the U.S., petitioning to help destitute fellow writers secure their livelihoods. "'Networking Remarque' makes clear how extensive his network was, who he knew and who knew him, with whom he came together to help. Thomas Mann and Erich Maria Remarque certainly didn't have much for each other, but a photo in the exhibition shows them together anyway," said University President Prof. Susanne Menzel-Riedl. Dr. Thomas Schneider, Alice Cadeddu and Claudia Junk developed the idea for this project to make Remarque's networks visible. "With his novels, the writer Remarque not only held up a mirror to his time," the three curators are certain, "but as a contemporary he used himself for others. His interest was in threatened people, whom he helped to survive. And he also cared about works of art that he feared would be destroyed."
The Remarque Peace Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free.