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Luise Schröder
Memory Is a Ghost

Opening: Fr, 2 October 2020, 7pm

The 2020 SpallArt Prize Salzburg Award winner will present new work.

In her artistic works (including photographs, videos and publications), Luise Schröder deals with the instrumentalization of the past as it pertains to a politics of the present. She examines the perpetuation of historical myths and their significance for various identities and communities. Her work also questions how official commemoration is influenced and constructed by political, social, and media developments. She focuses on both national forms of remembrance and global tendencies of commemoration, as well as their ritual character and iconography. The photographic image and its function as a form of collective social memory play a key role in her work.

In the context of the 2020 SpallArt Prize Salzburg, the artist is showing photographs of recent work in the Kabinett gallery. This will include an intervention outside the Künstlerhaus Salzburg; Memory Is a Ghost.

Tenez bon, nous arrivons / Hold on tight, here we come

The artist Luise Schröder deals with questions of history and related constructions of memory as well as their significance today. In her most recent photographic work Tenez bon, nous arrivons / Hold on tight, here we come, she deals with the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Paris on August 25, 1944, from a today’s perspective.

In these photos, we see, for example, a woman holding up the French flag posing on a tank for an invisible audience, military and functionaries convening, red barrier tapes dividing up space, people waiting, and an elder witness of the original events giving an interview. These different scenes appear through the pictures like a red ribbon, opening the view to secondary scenes, the casual and the unexpected. They somehow also refuse the representative moments of official commemoration and likewise question the state-staged politics of the past and their representation.

The slogan “Tenez bon, nous arrivons / Hold on tight, here we come” goes back to a message from General Lerclerc, which was dropped from a small plane of the French Panzer Division over a Paris police station on August 24, 1944, to call on the population to hold on but also to resist the Nazis and to prepare for General Charles de Gaulle’s heroic return to liberated Paris.

“Paris was violated. Paris was overcome. Paris was tormented. But Paris is now liberated! Liberated by itself, freed by its people with the help of the French army and with the support of all of France.” The words of General Charles de Gaulle in his famous speech in front of the Paris City Hall on the evening of August 25, 1944, established the myth, still existing today, of France always remaining sovereign, liberating itself by its own efforts. What de Gaulle knowingly ignored at that moment was the role of the Allies in the liberation of the city and also the collaboration of the Vichy government with the German occupiers. These inconvenient realties were excluded from the presentation of the liberation to present a nationalistic French success story. Today, 75 years later, the myth continues to be an important point of reference within France’s state-staged politics of the past. As an identity-forming moment in the context of public remembrance, it legitimizes contemporary political action, even though the role of France, which has remained sovereign, is now even increasingly questioned in historical research. Luise Schröder’s pictures also deal with the examination of this myth and its historical staging in the present

Erinnerung ist ein Gespenst / Memory Is a Ghost, the title of Luise Schröder’s exhibition at the Salzburger Kunstverein, is also the eponym for the artist’s intervention in the garden of the Künstlerhaus. The intervention consists of ten sandwich boards with the text Erinnerung ist ein Gespenst. These boards also resemble an ambivalent announcement or even an advertisement.

In reference to Siegried Kracauer’s statement in his essay that photography is akin to a ghost or apparition, in which he emphasizes that photography itself presents moments lost in time, that no longer exist, Luise Schröder wishes to connect this idea to our curious times. She thus reformulates Kracauer’s thesis and claims: Memory Is a Ghost.

The presentation of this sentence on the signage seems like a literary quotation, and yet there is ambivalence, a deliberate unknown that interrupts the usual flow of reading. The sentence invites the viewer to reflect on the current relationship of the present to the past. The Covid-19 crisis is associated with numerous social and economic consequences, such as the temporary closure of cultural and educational institutions, the financial plight of low-income earners and the self-employed, increasing domestic violence, and limited social contacts. Our present is already described as a historical moment from which nothing will ever be the same again.

The typeface “off” used especially for the work was created by Reymund Schröder, whose design and content refers to a typeface by Walter Tiemann called “Offizin,” which was published posthumously in 1953. This is the artist’s second collaboration with the typeface designer Reymund Schröder, who, as part of her artistic work Die vergessene Mobilisierung (The Forgotten Mobilization), designed the Friedlaender typeface especially for the intervention in public space.

Luise Schröder lives and works in France and Germany. She studied photography and media art at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig (DE). Her projects and works have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions in recent years, including at the Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin (F), at the Kunsthalle Baden Baden (DE), at the Galerie EIGEN+ART (Berlin/Leipzig, DE) and during the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art in Berlin (DE). Among numerous other awards, the artist received the C/O Talents Award in 2012. In addition, she had a residency at the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles in 2016 and was awarded a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2018/19 by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media. Recently she received the French photography grant Regards du Grand Paris, initiated and supported by Ateliers Médicis and CNAP/Centre national des arts plastiques.

Luise Schröder, Tenez bon, nous arrivons, 2020, Photography.

Luise Schröder, Tenez bon, nous arrivons, 2020, Photography.
Photo: Luise Schröder / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 2020

Luise Schröder, Tenez bon, nous arrivons, 2020, Photography.00000000000000000000000