THEN HITLER INVADED AUSTRIA. VERTREIBUNG IN DIE SEHNSUCHT, 2015. With poems by Andrea Grill. Publication as temporary installation in the Museum ERLAUF ERINNERT (Lower Austria): At the end of a museum tour, 1,500 free copies of the book are piled up on a pallet for visitors. The intervention is completed once the last copy has been taken.
Tatiana Lecomte on behalf of the Land of Lower Austria, Dept. for Art and Culture, Public Art
Donna Stonecipher (Andrea Grill's poems)
Lotte Lyon (German), Nick Somers (English)
C.E.I.S.1 & [RIMAGE GENGI]2
21 x 15 cm
In the night of May 8, 1945, Soviet General Dmitrii Drichkin and US General Stanley Reinhart met in Erlauf to celebrate the Allied victory and official end of the war in Europe at one minute after midnight. Almost twenty years after the historical meeting between the two generals, Ernst Brod and Frank Schanzer, two Jewish citizens from the Erlauf area who were forced to flee from the Nazis, revived the memory of these events in Erlauf with the help of a brochure from the US military. Shortly after, in 1965, the community celebrated its first annual commemoration event, which later evolved into the Days of Peace (Friedenstage), held every year. This also led to an intensive artistic engagement with history in public space that has continued to grow. In 1995, peace monuments by Jenny Holzer and Oleg Komov were erected in the city, and since then, many temporary public art projects have been realized, including Erlauf erinnert sich (Erlauf Remembers) (2000, 2002).
For her art project celebrating the inauguration of the museum ERLAUF ERINNERT in 2015, the artist Tatiana Lecomte chose to focus on the lives of Ernst Brod and Frank Schanzer, two citizens from the Erlauf area who were forced to flee from the Nazis. Her research resulted in the book Then Hitler invaded Austria. Vertreibung in die Sehnsucht (Then Hitler Invaded Austria. Forced into Longing), of which 1,500 copies were presented in the museum exhibition. The books stacked on a pallet not only formed a temporary artwork; visitors were also encouraged to take a copy home with them as a “piece of memory.” As the number of copies dwindled, the pile of books changed in appearance, serving both as a dynamic, interactive sculpture as well as a kind of a memorial against forgetting.
Matthäus Maier Translation: Michelle Miles