You’ll never walk alone, 2016

@Kleine Humboldt Gallery Berlin

You’ll never walk alone


Bronze Medal, Levitron, Plaster

Humboldt University Berlin

The Humboldt University owns a remarkable collection of medals. Amongst these objects are numerous prize and remembrance medals awarded for academic achievements, but above all gifts that the HU has received from other institutions for special anniversaries. 

Following a close examination of this part of the collection, Cooke has created her own medal on the occasion of the Kleine Humboldt Gallery‘s 200th exhibition. The bronze medal, displaying her portrait, closely resembles those historic remembrance medals which are currently in the possession of the Humboldt University. It does however set a rare female counterpoint to the medal collection’s otherwise patriarchal structures.

The few women depicted on the medals in the Kleine Humboldt Gallery collection are mostly allegories such as Justitia or Victoria. The Lise-Meitner-medal also displayed at the exhibition, forms an exception and has only been in the collection since 2014. You‘ll never walk alone draws attention to this historical failure and offers symbolic female support in the face of the medal collection‘s gender imbalances. The work also questions existing practices of medal dedication and award ceremonies in their one-sidedness and subjectivity.

After the exhibition, the medal was donated to the university and so it has become a part of the Humboldt Gallery collection.

Text by Lisa Füssel, Kleine Humboldt Galerie Berlin