The artistic activities of Hans Haacke (b. 1936, living in New York) can be situated in the context of concept art. In his works, Hans Haacke is concerned with complex social contexts. Since the '60s, the artist is dedicated, among others things, to creating awareness of the relationships between art, capital, and power.

In the exhibition at Portikus, Hans Haacke makes reference to his controversial project for the Berlin Reichstag building; the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) consented to its realisation on April 5, 2000. The first phase of the project has meanwhile been completed. In a low box measuring 21 x 7 metres installed on the floor of one of the two light-wells, Haacke's dedication DER BEVÖLKERUNG (TO THE POPULATION) was set in white neon-sign letters to complement the inscription DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE (TO THE GERMAN PEOPLE) located above the entrance portal. The members of the Bundestag have been invited to strew soil from their respective constituencies around the letters. On September 12, the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Thierse, will initiate this second phase of the project. Spontaneous growth will be left to itself.

The exhibition additionally alludes to the architectural parallels and the significant differences between the pictorial programmes and the inscriptions of the Frankfurt portico and the portico of the Reichstag building. Hans Haacke has thus developed a version of his Berlin project conceived especially for this specific context.

On the occasion of the exhibition opening, the website www.DerBevoelkerung.de will start.