A performance by Eduard Freudmann
Scenic arrangement: Eva Reinold
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
“When my grandmother passed away my uncle took all the items, put them in a cardboard box and stored them in his attic. I, myself, had been obsessed with my family history for a long time. And, in 2004, I began working on an art project related to our history. Since I knew that my uncle was in possession of material that could be relevant for my project, I drove to his place and asked him to show it to me. He took me up to his attic, pointed at the cardboard box and said: ‘Take it, it’s yours.’ I was delighted. Back home I opened the box right away and started to go through the material. I realized that what I had just received was a treasure, a cornucopia of new and unfamiliar knowledge that would feed my obsession.”
In his performance “The White Elephant Archive, Setting No. 3” Freudmann traces stories from a family archive founded in 1979 by his grandmother. He links contents of the archive with historical events and current political issues by means of documentary and object theatre. Against a background of the increasing absence of contemporary witnesses, Freudmann brings documents and objects as protagonists on the stage in order to consult them about the eternal dilemma of whether to speak or to be silent about the Shoah.
The performance was created during an art residency in Tel Aviv in 2012 (The White Elephant Archive, Setting No. 1). In the subsequent year a revised version was produced for an exhibition at Kunsthaus Dresden (Setting No. 2). The current version, Setting No. 3, premiered in April 2015 at the OFF-Biennale Budapest (Spinoza Theatre) and was shown in the framework of Into The City/Wiener Festwochen at Theater Nestroyhof Hamakom in Vienna. The upcoming performance in Graz will be shown at Volkshaus Graz, the arts and cultural center of the Austrian Communist Party KPÖ. It is part of the exhibition “Verfolgt, Beraubt, Vertrieben” at < rotor > Center for Contemporary Art.