Hadas Tapouchi describes the work of her powerful exhibition: Sites & Memories at IG Bildende Kunst in Vienna, Austria. Asylum Arts proudly helped support this project through the Small Grants program.
During WWII, an extremely complex network of forced labor was established in Germany and German-occupied Europe. The forced laborers and prisoners of war (POW) living in those camps were forced to work in various industries. They produced goods for the German war effort and construction materials for the Reich and the occupied territories. These settlements would constitute the nerve centers of the “Thousand Year Reich”. In Berlin alone, there were 3,000 sites that used forced labor, or in which forced laborers and POW were hosted or kept imprisoned. The characteristics of the forced labor industry during WWII bears all the hallmarks of a global network of forced labor. After WWII, most of the camps were destroyed, converted for different usage, or rebuilt. Today, those places have become cafes, schools, galleries, institutional buildings, parks, museums, sport fields, or just open, abandoned surfaces. In some cases, the locations continue to be used by the same companies that made use of them during the war.
Hadas will be presenting a video installation at the IG Gallery, which will emphasize the concept of normalization throughout these key events in history.
The images I’m presenting at the IG Gallery are a continuation of my memory practice. My works are being shown in a vitrine table in an attempt to present the images within the language of the world of findings and discoveries.
My aim for the video work Landschaft (Landscape), which I made in Krems, is to examine the landscape as a site of amnesia and erasure. It is a strategic site for burying the past and masking history through natural beauty.
The objective of photographing and thus documenting is to encourage observers to integrate their own historical knowledge into an everyday-orientated perspective and sensitize them to the process of normalization, where experiences of violence are hidden or ignored and eventually re-absorbed. In my research, I use images as site-specific installations, reflective of the historical occurrence, culture and memory. I want to bring this to light through various modes of representation, neutralized in everyday life.
My aim in these presentations is to ask the community to observe the obvious, to re-think and re-ask what part they play in the public sphere, and what their role is in the representation of collective memory.
If you’re lucky, you can get your hands on a copy of Hadas’ newspaper, Zimzum, at the exhibition. There you can read more about the concept of normalization through the lens of twelve other artists.