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Gift: Art Project “Paulines Hammer”

29. November 2018

From outside it looks like an unsuspecting, harmless apple crate – but when one looks into the peephole, a dimly lit scene appears. To the left stands a naked man who is ready for anything, and to the right at the urinal, is another man peeing, dressed in leather. And what does the shadow right behind the mirror mean?

The Hamburg artists Manfred Dübelt  and Jörg Marx (DÜMADISSIMA) created the art project „Paulines Hammer“, a minauture model of a pubic toilet, with porcelain figures, lighting and water circuits. Appreciation should be given to actor and concentration camp survivor Harry Pauly, and the actor and theater attendant Corny Littmann (Schmidts Tivoli)

In Hamburg since 1961 there was a sex-toilet ban, which was kept in compliance by police and civil servants. The responsible senator of the time was Helmut Schmidt. The ban meant, among other things, that the police would monitor the hustle and bustle of public toilets through one-sided mirrors. The gays found out. But 20 years later came a symbolic protest act: In the gay city book Hamburg Through Other Eyes (Männerschwarm Verlag) Corny Littmann reported on the  „Hamburg Mirror Scandal“: „Pauline Courage (Anm.: Harry Pauly) offered us a hammer – we were then in the toilet under the Spielbudenplatz on Taubenstraße – and with the hammer we broke the each mirror one after another.“

Manfred Dübelt und Jörg Marx with their artwork, together with head of the archive Dr. Peter Rehberg (r.) Photo: Kevin Clarke


Manfred Dübelt and Jörg Marx gave „Paulines Hammer“ to the archive of the Schwules Museum. At the beginning of 2019, the miniature toilet will be on display in the exhibition “A Change of Scenery”