19. Oct

Schwaz 45/46 - Memory landscapes in cardboard boxes

Jewgenij Chaldej, Toni Kleinlercher

20.10. - 26.11.1995

In spring of 1995, the people of Schwaz have been asked in newspaper advertisements to lend the gallery memorabilia, photos, etc. from the period before the end of World War II up to the time of occupation for an exhibition in the commemorative year. The response was great, many photos and objects were handed in. The memories associated with the individual objects were asked about in interviews from contemporary witnesses. In the summer, Vera Vogelsberger and her staff conducted these discussions, and a selection for the exhibition was then made from the extensive material. It was not the documents of the "great history" that were of interest for the exhibition, but rather the small, seemingly banal objects of everyday life at the time, but linked to the recorded personal memories of individual people from Schwaz. Objects to which memories are attached, but whose meaning cannot be experienced without the stories of the owners.

The lenders usually kept the memorabilia and photos in boxes, preferably in candy boxes. With that, the concept for the exhibition architecture and the subtitle for the exhibition was found: Verschachtelte Erinnerungslandschaften.

The first segment of the exhibition was the presentation of over 100 memorabilia in different sized cardboard boxes as well as four listening options of interviews. The second segment of the exhibition was the Warsaw Ghetto installation "Unter der Brücke fließt kein Fluss" (No river flows under the bridge), a quote from the book Tanz Mädchen (Dance Girl), the story of a jewish Woman from Warsaw who managed to save herself from the National Socialists by using a false name. In the summer of 1993, 50 years after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was crushed, Toni Kleinlercher set out to walk around the "small" Warsaw Ghetto along its borders. Following the Jewish custom of placing a stone on the tomb of the deceased, he placed the stones he found to mark the former ghetto area. 15 stones as 15 silent signs that force silence. 1 stone for 30,000 dead. The resulting 15 photographs were laid out in concrete frames on the gallery floor, and at the end of the series of photographs there was a pile of stones. Visitors were invited to pick a memory stone and place it at a special place within their personal memory landscape.

The third segment showed an outside view. The Russian photographer Yevgeny Ananjewitsch Chaldej, born in 1917, went into World War II as one of the youngest photographers in the Red Army, and he returned as one of the most famous. He photographed on almost all fronts up to the Crimea, then also the liberation of the Balkans and the invasion of the Red Army in Austria. A foreign army, refugees, freed prisoners of war march through villages and landscapes; Pictures of destroyed Vienna, dead and injured in the streets; Victory gestures, portraits of Soviet soldiers, propagandistic and suspicious encounters with the civilian population, life in the city beginning again. He became world famous for the photo Raising a flag over the Reichstag, 2 May 1945, which shows the hoisting of the Soviet flag on the Reichstag building.*

The exhibition addressed three different spatial and temporal levels of war and post-war history. This approach clarified the interconnectedness of the events of 1945/46 and the years before. An after cannot be understood without a before - cannot be processed, cannot become visible. The much-cited myth of the zero hour in 1945 was countered by artistic and historical perspectives that were intended to help make differentiation possible.


The press response to this exhibition was great, especially in the regional press - firstly because of the topicality of the topic in the commemorative year 1995 and secondly because of the involvement of the Schwaz population. The exhibition was visited by 550 people.

Text: Andrea Hörl

*In 2008 a separate exhibition was dedicated to him in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. His diary, which remained unknown until his death in 1997, is an important historical testimony to the less than heroic aspects of the war: Jewgeny Ananjewitsch Chaldej, Kriegtagebuch. Written and photographic diary, Das Neue Berlin Verlag, 2011