• WHO WAS 1968?
    28 Sept 2018 − 13 Jan 2019

    LENTOS Kunstmuseum WHO WAS 1968? Art, Architecture, Society Curated by: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer Loans by Kontakt from: Heimrad Bäcker, Stanisław Dróżdż, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak A decade of eruptions, departures and redefinitions in the steel city Linz. The year I968 marks a turning point that ushered in a new era. Across Western Europe and in the United States Student protests and workers’ revolts called into question the post-war power structure itself, while Soviet tanks bulldozed the Prague Spring into the ground and signalled the end of the hope that the Eastern Bloc would open up to the West. This exhibition harks back to the echoes of I968 in Linz and Upper Austria. Embracing the arts, architecture, music, film and literature, it unfolds for the first time a synoptic map on which key figures and moments of local history – some largely unknown to this day – are accorded a place. It enables visitors to embark on exploratory trips and to survey the rich fabric of relationships and linkages that includes points of contact with international scenarios and trends. Experiments in the aesthetic field were begun with a view to escaping from the cultural stuffiness of the first two post-war decades. The participating artists include: Claudia von Alemann, Ant Farm, Heimrad Bäcker, Josef Bauer, Bill Bollinger, Dietmar Brehm, Gerd Conradt, Waltraut Cooper, Stanisław Dróżdż, Erró, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Stano Filko, Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Timo Huber, Johann Jascha, Martha Jungwirth, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gerhard Knogler, Běla Kolářová, Juliús Koller, Peter Kubelka, Zofia Kulik, KwieKulik, Maria Lassnig, Fritz Lichtenauer, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Josef Nöbauer, OHO, Yoko Ono, Gina Pane, Friederike Pezold, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Zorka Sàglovà, Dominik Steiger, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević, Goran Trbuljak, Tucumàn Arde, Jiřì Valoch, Agnés Varda, Peter Weibel, Hannah Wilke, Jana Želibská, Želimir Žilnik, Zünd-Up


Christoph Mayer chm.

For his listening piece Audiowalk Gusen, Christoph Mayer chm. pieced together documentary material in order to examine the long-repressed history of a section of the upper Austrian community of Gusen. It was only by chance that the artist, himself born in the neighboring community of St. Georgen, discovered the historical significance of this area during his youth from the person sitting next to him at a local summer festival: the story which Mayer recounts is of a large, sprawling satellite camp of Mauthausen Concentration Camp along with the armaments production facility “Bergkristall,” which was located on the premises. Mayer’s 96-minute audio impression, which includes fragments of interviews with former Gusen prisoners, perpetrators, collaborators and the present-day local populace, reveals the detailed topography of fear and terror at Gusen’s two camps that was to be successively expunged from local history and memory following the war’s conclusion.
This precisely choreographed audio tour through the terrain of the former camp is divided into 18 stations distinguished by topographic features, proceeding as follows: front courtyard with memorial and the “Jourhaus” – the Danner company, the “Left Jourhaus” with the barracks to the right + commandant’s home – Danner private road, the bordello, in front of the prisoners’ bordello, Lagerstraße – Untere Gartenstraße to Obere Gartenstraße, Block 10 (left) – Untere Gartenstraße No. 6, Block 11 (right) – Obere Gartenstraße No. 6, mustering grounds, crematorium – Obere Gartenstraße, the “Revier” [sick bay] / Block 27, dentist – Obere Gartenstraße at the intersection with Parkstraße, industrial courtyard / in-between space, Gusen II, crossing over Große Straße, rail siding track bed, bench / view into the meadowy flood plain, Bergkristall_ PROLOG, bridge for the rail siding, farm house, camp gate. Even just the matter-of-fact neutrality of these designations serves well to imply the monstrousness of both the camp and its subsequent history. In his script for the audio tour, Mayer proceeds to ask methodological and ontological questions regarding evidence, repression, bearing witness, and the Holocaust’s representation in reports by its survivors: how can the rescued speak for those who did not make it? How can they report on something which they themselves did not experience all the way to its ultimate conclusion? The voices of Gusen’s survivors, their injuries inscribed deeply into their bodies and souls, are lent suggestive power in Mayer’s theatrical yet distanced audio direction. The tour through the neighborhood, narrated in fictitious first-person form by a young woman’s voice, brings the camp to new life in the minds of visitors, even though it is extant only in rather abstract traces. Alternation between a narrative perspective and documentary interview passages gives rise both to distance and to reflected authenticity. Interviews with people from the present-day residential development and the nearby village reveal how they relate to their homes, to history’s commemoration, and to the shift in reality that takes place when one thinks back to the past.


1975, Linz / AT

Mayer studied with Michelangelo Pistoletto and Heimo Zobernig at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (Austria) and with Rebecca Horn at the University of the Arts in Berlin (Germany). He is the creator and project manager of the art project “Audioweg Gusen” in Langenstein (Austria), which serves in the form of a walkable “sculpture” as a memorial to the victims of the concentration camps Gusen I and II during the Nazi regime.

Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
Media File
Browse All
  • Foto: Didi Tolerian