Unmöglicher Entwurf einer Zukunft
an (im)possible draft (of a future)
installation views at Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna
with 5 b/w photographs on aluminum
1pc. 180 x 270 cm
2pcs. 60 x 90 cm
2pcs. 50 x 75 cm
2 color photographs behind glass, 50 x 75 cm
text panel on aluminum, 60 x 160 cm
lettering sign, 250 x 10 cm
My artistic focus in this project revolved around the following questions: Where and how is Bertha von Suttner, Peace Nobel Prize laureate, publicly visible in Vienna today? How are history and memory utilized, situated and manipulated? What is today’s reception and representation of Bertha von Suttner, a utopian thinker from the early 20th century? How can the relevance of conflicts between what is real and what is imagined in our society be illustrated by way of this person?
All commemorative sites and signs for Bertha von Suttner that can be found throughout Vienna were captured in black-and-white photographs. These photographs were arranged in a visual display with spatial qualities. As the images seem to be standing free within the exhibition space – their arrangement as well as the tilting of some of the photographs emphasizes this spatial reference. However, this is not an actual architectural structure, but rather remains on a visual level.
For the representation of the public, visually rather unappealing sites where I found traces of Bertha von Suttner, I used an installation that contradicts the aesthetic of the photographs. I chose to create a setting for the images which seems monumental and, in contrast to the actual sites, inevitably draws attention to itself. This form of display is a reference to the installation of the exhibition ROAD TO VICTORY, which was shown at the MoMA in New York in 1942. The aim of this exhibition was to promote the strength of the United States’ military and to thus fortify a nation on the brink of entering the war. The exhibition was “a procession of photographs of the nation at war” by Edward Steinchen and was presented in a setting devised by Herbert Bayer. Unmöglicher Entwurf einer Zukunft is an artistic reflection on exhibition politics; it is about the presentation and utilization of photography and the exhibition or placement of Bertha von Suttner in public space.