David Heywood-Jones will be in conversation next month with the current residential artist Hadas Tapouchi, and her archive project: “Transforming”. The project will take place starting on February 11, Centrum Kultury Theater in Poznan, Poland.
The public discussion will deal with the trappings and symbols of memorial culture. No other continent in the world plays host to so many diverse and competing national, political, historical, provincial and international memorials as Europe and in particular Central Europe. There is a veritable deluge of competing memorial cultures which flood the city's streets, walls and parks. One cannot throw a stone in central Berlin or Warsaw without hitting a plaque dedicated to martyrs or villains, patrons or priests of one sort or another. Almost decade of the 20th century brought with it new artistic modes to express the contemporary appropriation of historical occurrence and a new generation of politicians and interest groups only too willing to endorse or promote reified retrospection. So how does this obsession with what are essentially nationalist public acts of contrition and self-representation affect our understanding of history and define our place within the civic space that this historical gaze has bequeathed us? “Transforming project” asks these very questions and thus challenges our modern sensibilities about remembrance culture. In showing the absence of memorials it highlights the current Zeitgeist each act of remembrance invariably reifies while simultaneously challenging the observer to create their own representations of what they should be remembering. With “Transforming”, the artist Hadas Tapouchi has created a heuristic, distilled and apolitical but nonetheless disconcerting aesthetic of remembrance - a photographic counter-monument.
Hadas Tapouchi is an Israeli artist currently living in Berlin. She works with photography and video. History was always been the center of her work but not as an abstract goal in itself, rather as an instrument to understand her contemporary reality. With the medium photography she is trying to challenge the conventional esthetics that is presented mostly by traditional media.
On her website, Hadas writes of transforming:
"Transforming project" is based on the research of Rainer Kubatzki. For the first time since the Second World War, the locations of over one thousand camps located in Berlin and its immediate environs have been researched and documented. Between 1939 and 1945 prisoners, prisoners of war and workers from across Europe were packed into Berlin and forced to work in what was the seat of Germany’s munitions industry, for many this proved to be a pre-planned death sentence. In some locations there were several camps beside each other, some had only one barracks and others twenty. There were barracks hemmed in behind barbed wire where others functioned as “model” camps, some were concealed; some were in basements, some in bars and shops, apartments and old factories. We can no longer put an exact figure on the amount of camps. By 1945 however, and compared with Munich’s 130 and Essen’s 300 camps or industrial areas, Berlin was home to by far the most camps."
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