Curated by Dovrat Meron
One of the main criticisms against the Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is that it is too abstract and does not invite to any discourse on the culture of memory. Beyond Commemoration suggests alternative ways to commemorate the holocaust.
For Beyond Commemoration Dovrat Meron invited three artists to develop performances and interventions at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Her aim was first of all to enable these artists to develop performative projects that raise meaningful questions about the memorial and about their personal understanding of commemoration. The result is three very different projects.
The Israeli artist and performer Moran Sanderovich, adjusted her existing performance “Insight Skin” which she created in Jerusalem 2008 to the memorial, the German performer and producer Birgit Auf der Lauer developed a night performative tour inspired by the complexity and uniqueness of the memorial, and the Argentinean artist, Valeria Schwarz conceptualised an intervention with the visitors of the memorial performed by Maik Kerner.
The Holocaust memorial is a public space built on a private area belongs to the German government and managed by the Holocaust Memorial Foundation. This makes it an in-between public/private space. Art projects of any kind are forbidden and the request for permits to take photos and film video in the memorial for future public screening is doomed to be refused as part of the policy of the memorial foundation.
Due to this strict position she couldn’t choose between various possible working methods but forced to curate the project illegally. Therefore she applied the Hit and run curatorial approach to produce there her project. Hit and run is the only way to intervene with critical intention in sensitive urban places and engage the general public in a meaningful way outside gallery/museum space.
*INFO: For Dovrat Meron’s essay Holocaust “Light” please scroll to the bottom of this page
TIME: Opening 19:00 – Thu-Sun 15:00-17:00 | Finissage June 2 19:00 with a talk with the philosopher and author Dr Ana Maria Rabe and the artists Moran Sanderovich, Birgit Auf der Lauer and Valeria Schwarz and Maik Kerner. Moderation: Dovrat Meron
WHERE: okk|raum29 | Prinzenallee 29 Wedding | www.kritische-kunst.org
BEYOND COMMEMORATION EXHIBITION (RUNNING UNTIL JUNE 2)
Exhibited projects by Birgit Auf der Lauer, Moran Sanderovich, Valeria Schwarz & Maik Kerner.
Video documentation and Photos by Paul Holdsworth & Daniela Garcia del Pomar, Noam Gorbat and Catalina Fernandez of the first Beyond Commemoration action and Video von Arturo Martinez Steele.
Birgit Auf der Lauer
The memorial arouses varied reactions. Walking inside becomes an aesthetic experience, producing conflicts between the memorial’s agenda of modest reverence and having fun. The reception of memorial visitors is even less controllable than their physical behavior. The stelae field creates proliferations in the memory of, from and beyond the Holocaust. In Commemoration² the artist Birgit Auf der Lauer guides to these transient proliferations of memory and remembrance belonging to various memorial visitors.
WHERE: Holocaust Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe Ebert Str. corner Behren Str. (U/S Brandenburger Tor). Click here for map Valeria Schwarz & Maik Kerner – Photo by Paul Holdsworth & Daniela Garcia del Pomar
Please explore the memorial to discover the intervention.
With “Small questions for large places” Valeria Schwarz explores the boundaries between the terms monument (Denkmal) and memorial (Mahnmal). She raises the visitor’s awareness to the conventions and behavioural codes evoked by the memorial. As a kind of guardian of site specific consciousness, in a very respectful and friendly way Maik Kerner discusses with the visitors the rules of the memorial and whether their behaviour within this semi-public place is appropriate or not. The inquiry regarding the rules in the memorial and the presence of guards was a focal point throughout the project.
TIME: 21:00 sharp (please note due to the subversive character of the performance Insight Skin we recommend you arriving on time)
WHERE: Holocaust Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe Ebert Str. corner Behren Str. (U/S Brandenburger Tor). Click here for map
Moran Sanderovich – Photo by Paul Holdsworth & Daniela Garcia del Pomar
The work “Insight Skin” by performance artist Moran Sanderovich was created and premiered in Jerusalem. It deals with the way repressed memories and interior conflicts shape and transform the human body. When presented at the Holocaust Memorial, questions of repetition are animated through the performance. “The path of modern humanity goes from humanity through nationality to bestiality” (Grillparzer, 1848).
Please note due to the subversive character of the performance Insight Skin we recommend you arriving exactly at 21:00
BIRGIT AUF DER LAUER | www.varsityofmaneuvers.org
The artist Birgit Auf der Lauer (MA, 1981) is working on performative and participatory projects located in artistc urban and spatial research. She transfers through performance, drawing, video and mapping the research into material. From August 2012 she receives a scholarship for the art education program of the “NGBK”. Since the fall of 2011 she operates with colleagues (Caspar Pauli, Anja Bodanowitz, Arthur van Balen, Timo Szepanska) and Kreuzberg-Museum the „Kanu Club zur Erforschung der Stadt“. (Canoe Club for the Exploration of the City)
MORAN SANDEROVICH | www.moran.sanderovich.com
Moran Sanderovich (1980 in Israel) 2005-2009 she studied at the School of Visual Theatre in Jerusalem after various courses and training in the field of performance art and dance. She created her first performance “Circulation” in 2007. During 2008 she developed her next performance “Human Nature” and was invited to show it at festivals in Israel, Estonia, Poland, Serbia and the Netherlands; for this piece she received the “best show” prize at the FIST Festival in Belgrade 2008. That same year she was awarded for her artistic achievement from the mayor of Jerusalem. Since 2011 she is living in Berlin, where her last performance “Shapeskin” premiered in “sophien saele” festival “100 deg ” 2012. Moran Sanderovich’s elaborate costumes constitute the core of her work. She is looking for modern mythological creatures to tell their own story. Her choreography is based on the physical changes necessary of her body due to the costumes she works within. She creates an alternative body, one unaware of the terms “disability” and “imperfection”, a body which instead naturally produces its own movements and lifestyles. As part of the world of Insight Skin, pseudo-religious rituals are utilized. These are based on dances of indigenous peoples in which the performers dress like monsters to confront the audience with their fears but also to make themselves familiar with them. They create a space in which passions, fears and weaknesses do not have to be hidden.
VALERIA SCHWARZ | www.valeriaschwarz.com
Valeria Schwarz is a Berlin-based independent curator, artist and cultural manager. She studied Art History at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Visual Arts at the University of Salamanca, Spain. In 2007 she moved to Berlin to assist video artist Julian Rosefeldt and to work as a director of Invaliden1 gallery. Between 2008 and 2009 she assisted Japanese performer Tatsumi Orimoto and organized in the frame of his Berlin´s exhibition a panel discussion at Goethe
Institut: The Dilemma of Collectionism in Times of Dematerialization As curator, she develop independent projects (7 Days, Offensichtlich Öffentlich in collaboration with Peer Golo Willi) as well as institutional ones (Amerika, within Paralell Events Manifesta 8 or different exhibitions at Berlin Art Projects gallery). In 2009 she created i Collective together with international artists, an horizontal decentralized platform of multidisciplinary artists working on different points of the world. i Collective has participated with inVESTIR in Parallel Events Manifesta 8 (2010) Murcia and Manifesta 9 (2012, Belgium), 48 Stunden Neukölln (2010, STORY BOX), La Noche de los Museos (2012, Buenos Aires). Her works have been exhibited in Souterrain (Berlin), Museu da Fotografia (Curitiba, Brazil), Instituto Paranaense de Arte (Curitiba, Brazil), Kunstraum (Hallein, Österreich), Argentinische Botschaft in Berlin, Mein Blau e.V. (Berlin), a.o.
DOVRAT MERON | www.dovratmeron.com
Dovrat Meron is an Israeli performance artist and curator. Her work engages mainly different curatorial approaches to site specific performance, action and intervention in the public realm. Further interests are culture policy and institutional critique. She is MPA-B 3 Month of performance art Berlin 2013 associate curator. Between 2007 and 2009 she co-curated at ScalaMata Exhibition Space in Venice, where she organized and coordinated interdisciplinary projects such as ’60 seconds FreeDoMe of Movement’ (2006) “Parallel Worlds” (2009), and “Memory space” (2009) site specific performance series in 10 different locations at the 53 Art Biennale in Venice. She co-curated “The law of the market / Berlin – Bangalore” collaboration between students of Weissensee art school Berlin & students of art school Bangalore, India (2012) She graduated her B.A educational in Theatre directing and acting teaching at the Kibbutzim-College, Tel Aviv (1998), B.A in Theater science at the Haifa University, (2000) and M.A Space Strategies at the Weißensee Art School Berlin (2012). Among her prominent performances: “Tourists Trap”, “The Lots 1-4” (2012), “Untranslatable words” (2011) “Land of milk and honey” “Slip into something more comfortable”, “Get it while you can”, “Performance Heart”, “The bloody Trilogy”, “Naznazim” (2010) “Bringing stars to the skies- poetically correct”, “The nature of a red dot” (2009) “Illegal Movement”, „Globalise Body“ (2008) “Fiktionsbescheinigung” (2007) “Over exposed” (2007) „Mute“ (2003)
HOLOCAUST “LIGHT” BY DOVRAT MERON
Eisenman’s impressive Holocaust Memorial became one of Berlin’s most famous tourist attractions. But is it fulfilling its role as a place for commemoration?! Are there other alternative ways to invite to remember what most people prefer to forget? Beyond Commemoration evolve these questions. One of the fascinating facts about the Holocaust Memorial is its in-between-ness. The Holocaust memorial is a public space built on a private area belongs to the German government and managed by the Holocaust Memorial Foundation. This makes it one of many in-between public/private spaces. Art projects of any kind are strictly forbidden and the request for permits to take photos and film video in the memorial for future public screening is doomed to be refused as part of the policy of the memorial foundation. Due to this strict position I have applied the Hit and run curatorial approach which is the only way to intervene with critical intention in sensitive urban places and engages the general public in a meaningful way outside gallery/museum space. The in-between private public space “thing” is a public space that is seemingly open to all people but in fact is completely private. I call it an in-between place because it is not clear to people that enter it whether it is public or private. Eisenman himself refused to set a sign which indicates the memorial and give information about it. Bringing time there and talking to many people /tourists at the memorial I met people, mostly young, that had no idea that they are at the Holocaust memorial to the murdered Jews. It is also a fact and only very small part of the memorial visitors visits the information centre below the Memorial which tells the story of the genocide of the European-Jewish population, and this is exactly where Eisenmans memorial fails. One of the main criticisms against the memorial is that it does not invite to any discourse. Its „cold grammar“does not promote action to arise on the culture of memory but I do not believe that this was Eisenmans intention when he designed it. The 2,711 concrete blocks (stelae) of this memorial are not able to look to the people in the eyes, act, react or lead a dialogue, and this is exactly the effect that Eisenman’s wanted to provoke, the feeling of being left alone small and hopeless even at a time when the memorial is full of people, this is the reason that the pathways are narrow, to prevent people from walking side by side. Art projects aiming to provoke other than that can and should be taking place elsewhere. If that should be the case, why did I as well as many other artists, explicitly chose to work at the Holocaust memorial? Is it because it is a tourist site located in the most central location in Berlin? Or because it became a symbol for a comfortable, photogenic, commemoration and offers an interesting discourse? I am not sure about other artists; but what I wish to criticize here is not the foundation’s decision to forbid art projects in the memorial. The Artist has the right to prevent external art projects from taking place at the memorial, and I do agree that the effort to consider all the art projects that are proposed is too big, but I rather dispute the decision to declare it as the National Holocaust memorial of Germany. I believe that one way to create a discourse around the Holocaust in a way that will not create tiredness or antagonism is not by erecting stones but rather through interacting and intervening with people, regardless to a specific place, ex holocaust site or a memorial. In 1997 graffiti on the temporary fencing of the construction site of the memorial declared ‘The debate is the memorial!’ “However, it is, paradoxically, a ‘reverse embodiment inasmuch as the slogan would now read: ‘The memorial is the debate’. In other words, the sentiment expressed by the graffiti of keeping the debate alive, fluid and public has ended up being enshrined in Eisenman’s design in defiance of the graffiti’s obvious fear that no memorial site would be able to do this”. (Whybrow Nocolas, Art and the city I.B Tauris, 2011) Living in Berlin as an Israeli and Jew I never had the urge to create around this topic and it took me quite a long while to visit the Memorial itself and the info centre below it. My interest is not in the Holocaust as the most vicious crime against humanity but the ways that the German government chose to commemorate it and the way that it is remembered nationally with the fact that there are still Neo Nazis, and protected organised terror cells in Germany of 2013. The remains of the Holocaust are to be found in every corner of Berlin, in many other places in Germany and its echo reverberates in other countries in Europe. I have come to the conclusion that there is a place for a project which aims to deal seriously with the remembrance of the Holocaust, offering an alternative approach to the existing remembrance methods, a project that calls for artists to develop performance, action and intervention and that challenges with new ways to remember, a project that reminds! Such a project should not be an ensemble of static monuments and already existing commemorating public sculpture. But rather a flexible project, free to take place everywhere, in Berlin and Germany not only where crimes against Jews took place and away from ‘complete’ and touristy memorials.