• Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective
    22 December 2017 − 10 March 2018

    Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective 22/12/17 –  10/03/18 Loans by Kontakt: Vlado Martek: Ciklus Soneti / Sonnet Cycle, 1978-79 Raša Todosijević: Znak / Sign, 1971; Skulptura / Sculpture, 1971; Was ist Kunst, Patricia Hennings? / What is Art, Patricia Hennings?, 1976; Was ist Kunst, Marinela Koželj? / What is Art, Marinela Koželj?, 1978 Tamás St. Auby: Kentaur / Centaur, 1973-1975/ 2009 Curators: Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň Nová synagóga in Žilina presents the exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective curated by Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň and Sabine Hänsgen. The exhibition brings together more than forty artists, poets and creative groups from the countries of the former Eastern Europe as well as contemporary artistic positions. The exhibition will be opened on December 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by a series of several performances and will run until March 10th 2018. In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and artists in particular took up the challenge of reflecting on and investigating the instrumentalization of language for communicative and political-ideological purposes. They did so by drawing attention to the “made-ness” of language, its material and medial dimension, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. In Eastern Europe, poetry and performance played a significant role in the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene. The writing practice of samizdat and its relation to the devices of concrete and visual poetry have been treated and presented in a number of previous projects. Until now however, less consideration has been given to the circumstances of performance. In addition to the typescript literature of samizdat, subcultural milieus attached particular importance to the oral recitation of poems, exhibitions, and poetry actions. The interrelation between text and situation in poetic acts functioned as a trigger for performances and happenings. The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance. It shows the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and normative communicative now and then. Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective thus confronts the current social challenges in the post-socialist countries through the prism of language and ideology and looks back at their points of departure. Artists: Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Babi Badalov, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Else Gabriel / Via Lewandowsky, Rimma Gerlovina, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Gino Hahnemann, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Kinship Moho (Zuzana Jasenková, Kristína Országhová, Magdaléna Scheryová), Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Andrei Monastyrski, Monogramista T.D, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Boris Ondreička, Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Lev Rubinstein, Nóra Ružičková / Marianna Mlynárčiková, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch. Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia J. M. Hurbana 220/11, 010 01 Wednesday — Sunday, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m. free entry (voluntary)


back to Artists
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.

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2000     “emerging artists - Christoph Mayer chm.”, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria          

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “spring salad”, lukas feichtner gallery, Vienna, Austria

2011     “El Mapa: Cartografías críticas”, MAMM Museo de Arte Moderno Medellín, Medellin, Colombia

2010     “ARTmART2010”, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna, Austria

2009     “Urban Signs - Local Strategies – Continued“, Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien, fluc, Vienna, Austria

2008     “The Map: Navigating the Present”, Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden

2007     “Be one get three“, Cluster, Berlin, Germany

2006     “Eutopia – Sign“, Tentoonstellingsruimte voor Jonge Kunst, Groningen, the Netherlands

2004     “UNITED SPACE, Vereinter Raum: Wien – Tashkent – Wien“, Galerie Windspiel, Vienna, Austria

2003     “Christoph Mayer, Daniel Schoch. Panoptikum und Crème Brûlée“, Stadtgalerie Vienna, Vienna, Austria

2002     “Transfer”, W. Krenn Hochfrequenztechnik GmbH, Vienna, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library
Media File
List of Works
Browse All
  • Foto: Didi Tolerian