041010: Art Gallery Exnergasse Bless my homeland forever - I, too, will try to forget...

Art Gallery Exnergasse Bless my homeland forever - I, too, will try to forget... 16.09.10 - 16.10.10 The elegiacal sound of remembrance For 22 days the artist, Susan Silas, was on the road on which in April 1945, 580 female Jewish prisoners from a sub-camp of the concentration camp, Flossenbürg were being herded through Germany and Czechoslovakia, and portrayed the happenings by means of coolly poetical photographs: by order of the Allies, 95 women who had died in Volary during the death march, were buried in the front part of the municipal cemetery. After the Allies departure, the inhabitants planted a hedge of trees, which now divides the cemetery into two parts. Silas’ work, within the framework of the exhibition “Bless my homeland forever” which can be seen in the Kunsthalle Exnergasse, shows one of the ways of handling the area of tension of collective remembrance and repression as thematised by Karoline Mayer, curator of the exhibition. Starting point of the exhibition is the American film, “The Sound of Music” (1965). While tourists from all over the world make pilgrimages to the original Salzburg film locations, the film is largely unknown here. The conclusive hypothesis of the curators, based on the fact that the image of Austria shown in the film is that of a “naïve-creative people (…) who, while not actively supporting the Annexation of Austria, at least confront it in an indifferent manner”, doesn’t concur with the domestic post-war understanding of Austria as Germany’s first victim. The meritorious exhibition with contributions from 12 countries, questions the relationship between history and identity, as well as the ramifications of collective oblivion, and commemorates the past: such things as the “Verkehrsflächen 1” by Werner Kaligofsky, which documents the streets in Innsbruck named after the opponents of National Socialism but which also documents the often violent opposition to the streets’ renaming. Karoline Mayer examines the contradictory domestic handling of the past in the “Catalogue of Austrian War Memorials”. Besides the customary homages to the “Heroes of both World Wars”, there is also in Kirchberg-am-Wechsel an inscription to the memory of a deported Jewish merchant’s family. Especially touching: Ioana Marinescu‘s cinematic installation about the 1948 destruction of an entire city quarter in Bucharest, which was ordered by Ceausescu. In elegiacal-melancholic pictures, the artist traces the deposed inhabitants and shows the inhospitable dereliction which developed during the course of the erection of the megalomaniacal “People’s Palace” The diligently formed exhibition demands a lot from the visitor – and this is indeed excusable because of the high quality of the contributions. And in spite of the minimal budget, an informative brochure as well as a catalogue was produced once again proves how efficiently the team of the Kunsthalle Exnergasse and their project partners are able to deal with minimal financial resources. By Susanne Jäger Kunsthalle Exnergasse 1090 Vienna, Währinger Straße 59, 2. Unit, First Floor Tel: +43 (0)1 401 21-41 or +43 (0)1 401 21-42 Fax: +43 (0)1 401 21-67 E-mail: kunsthalle.exnergasse@wuk.at http://www.kunsthalle.wuk.at Opening hours: Tue – Fri: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Kunsthalle Exnergasse
1090 Wien, Währinger Straße 59, 2. Stiege, erster Stock
Tel: +43 (0)1 401 21-41 oder +43 (0)1 401 21-42, Fax: +43 (0)1 401 21-67
Email: kunsthalle.exnergasse@wuk.at
Öffnungszeiten: Dienstag - Freitag 13:00 - 18:00,
Samstag 11:00 - 14:00 Uhr

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