Memory in (Post-) Totalitarianism | MARTIN KRENN

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.

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