Martin Krenn’s exhibition, “Memory in (Post-)Totalitarianism”, reconstitutes a photographic journey by depicting various historical locations, memorials, museums and archives in Germany and Romania. It analyzes evolutionary developments in the politics of memory and history in totalitarian and post totalitarian societies. The artist is interested in how the traces of communist and fascist ideologies have affected succeeding generations and the influence of a totalitarian past in reshaping political spaces. Kren examines the role that memorial sites, feature films and historical novels play in the creation of collective and cultural memory. He interviewed experts in various areas and looked into the various presentational strategies used at official and unofficial memorial sites.
The core of the exhibition comprises photographs which are part of a three-channel slide and sound installation. In his photographs Martin Krenn refers to different media: historical construction in the GDR about the Buchenwald concentration camp is investigated using film stills from the DEFA classic “Naked among wolves”. Furthermore, paralleling his first visit, the artist wanders through the Sighet memorial in Romania a tour that is simulated in great detail in 3D on an available DVD. The text passages in the installation cite the expert interviews. Another part of the exhibition shows video interviews with the journalist and author Oliver Lustig and the president of the Association of Romanian Jews Victims of the Holocaust, Liviu Beris. The interviews provide insight into historical and political developments in Romania from the point of view of Holocaust survivors.