The exhibition “Affecting Memory” features selected works of international performance art whose multiple viewpoints depart significantly from traditional notions of memorials and remembrance.
This performative culture of memory as movement has developed in the form of participatory processes, temporary interventions and political performances. Focussing on the question of how art can be a productive force in society, foster processes of healing, and exert political influence, an alternative post-war culture of remembrance engages here with today’s global postcolonial culture of memory: The options proposed diverge from the current emphasis on mourning, with irony, humour and subversion playing a constructive, de-polarizing role in order to access and think about emotionally charged areas of memory in new ways.
Faced with a depressing resurgence of war and conflict, it is clear that many aspects of national and military cultures of memory must be urgently rethought. In the midst of polarization, disinformation and rising tensions worldwide, the canonical repertoire of memorials can only be viewed with scepticism and frustration.
The eight artists featured in “Affecting Memory” – Cécile Belmont, Nezaket Ekici, Wolfram Kastner, Margarete Rabow, Ute Reeh, Maya Saravia, Santiago Sierra and Roberto Uribe – set our habitual mode of memory “in motion”, firstly by addressing different kinds of emotions pertaining to past conflicts, and secondly by “altering” typical representations of memory by proposing different materialities, different bodies and different ways of recording and transmitting memory.