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Anschluss '90, 2018

Mixed media installation

GermanEnglish

It was hard to imagine that things could shift so quickly, but in 1990, it all happened nearly overnight: in a burst of national sentiment, the slogan “We are the people” turned into “We are one people,” and German reunification was suddenly a reality, implausible as it might have seemed only months before. In her new installation for steirischer herbst, artist Henrike Naumann takes this implausibility a step further. Naumann, who grew up in the East German town of Zwickau, famous as one of the hotbeds of the NSU (National Socialist Underground) far-right terror group, imagines an alternate-history scenario for German reunification where the wave of popular sentiment floods over to Austria, which suddenly decides to join a newly-united Germany. This new “Anschluss” feels very different than 1938. Instead of endless military parades, there are grand openings of new furniture stores, one after another. Unification ushers in exciting new possibilities of consumption for Austrians and East Germans alike! Naumann’s installation transforms Graz’s Haus der Architektur into a furniture showroom from the year 1990. Its kitschy postmodern design—inspired by chic cars and misplaced visions of glamor— takes the visitor back to the repressed aesthetic follies and unspoken ruptures of German-Austrian history. Here, hedonistic self-optimization and radical right-wing politics intertwine, taking on truly malignant proportions.*

Wer hätte gedacht, dass sich die Dinge so schnell ändern würden? 1990 ereignete sich dann aber alles beinahe über Nacht. Aus dem Ruf „Wir sind das Volk“ wurde in einem Ausbruch von Nationalgefühl „Wir sind ein Volk“ – und die deutsche Wiedervereinigung plötzlich Wirklichkeit, so unwahrscheinlich dies auch noch wenige Monate zuvor erschienen sein mag. Mit ihrer neuen Installation für den steirischen herbst treibt die Künstlerin Henrike Naumann eine solche Unwahrscheinlichkeit weiter. Naumann, die im ostdeutschen Zwickau aufgewachsen ist, das als eine der Brutstätten der rechtsextremen Terrororganisation NSU (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund) gilt, malt sich ein alternatives Geschichtsszenario für die deutsche Wiedervereinigung aus, bei dem die Welle völkischen Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühls auf Österreich überschwappt und das Land sich schlagartig entscheidet, sich seinerseits dem nun wiedervereinten Deutschland anzuschließen. Ein solcher Neu-Anschluss fühlt sich ziemlich anders an als der von 1938 – keine endlosen Militäraufmärsche, sondern die Eröffnung immer neuer Möbelhäuser. Die Wiedervereinigung führt Österreicher und Ostdeutsche gemeinsam ungeahnten Möglichkeiten des Konsums zu! Das Grazer Haus der Architektur verwandelt sich durch Naumanns Installation zu einem Showroom für Möbel aus dem Jahr 1990. Das kitschige, postmoderne Design dieser Dekade ruft Erinnerungen an schnittige Autos hervor und bemüht eine schräge Vorstellung von Glamour. Es bringt die Besucher*innen zurück zu verdrängten ästhetischen Verirrungen und verschwiegenen Brüchen in der deutschösterreichischen Geschichte. Hedonistische Selbstoptimierung und rechtsradikale Politik verschlingen sich ineinander und wuchern zu ausgesprochen bösartigen Proportionen.*

Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke
Henrike Naumann, Anschluss '90, 2018, mixed media installation, detail, photo by Mathias Voelzke

Mixed media installation [consisting of various furniture, various props, flooring]

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst
Photos by Mathias Voelzke
* Text by steirischer herbst

Henrike Naumann

Henrike Naumann was born 1984 in Zwickau (GDR). Growing up in Eastern Germany, Naumann experienced extreme-right ideology as a predominant youth culture in the 90s. Her work reflects on the history of the right-wing terrorism in Germany as well as on today‘s broad acceptance of racist ideas. She looks at the mechanisms of radicalization and how they are linked to personal experience and youth culture. Nauman explores the friction of contrary political opinion through the ambivalence of personal aesthetic taste. In her immersive installations she combines video and sound with scenographic spaces. In recent years she widened her focus to the global connectivity of youth cultures and the reversion of cultural othering. Notable exhibitions include solo shows at the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach and Galerie Wedding, Berlin, as well as participations at the Busan Biennale (2018), Riga Biennial (2018), Steirischer Herbst, Graz (2018), 4th Ghetto Biennale at Port-Au-Prince (2015), and the 3rd Herbsalon at Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin (2017).

Henrike Naumann lives and works in Berlin.



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