news release: November 2004

Voluntary Memory: imagining the invisible past
Omer Fast, Ori Gersht, Klub Zwei, Miranda Lopatkin, Ann-Sofi Sidén

Exhibition: Austrian Cultural Forum London, 19 November–19 December 2004
free admission, Monday–Friday 0900–1700h, Sunday 1400–1800h
Underground: Knightsbridge, Tel: 020 7584 8653
Opening: Thursday 18 November 2004, 1830h
Gallery events: talks and film-screenings, Sundays 1500h, free

Voluntary Memory examines contemporary obsessions with memory: the search for and reconstruction of the past. The museums, memorials and monuments to the heritage industry which proliferated around the turn of the century, it could be argued, are the efforts of public culture to authenticate a forgotten past, to help secure the grounds of cultural identity.

As living memory of the formative events of the twentieth century fades, we have to question how experience is transmitted and examine the quality of our own experience and what it might hold for the future.

The exhibition, curated by Alona Pardo and Miranda Lopatkin, presents works by five artists exploring the role of images in the transmission of knowledge, history and memory. Each of the works can be regarded as an approach to an unimaginable event. In search of the presence of the Holocaust, the photographic and video works in the exhibition highlight the ability of images and formalised acts of remembrance to replace memory or to cover traces. In turn, they examine the ambivalent or unreliable post-history of images and question how memory is mediated in contemporary culture.

Exhibits include Omer Fast’s Spielberg’s List (2003), a two-screen video work which presents the testimony of ‘survivors’ of Schindler’s List, Polish extras who took part in the shooting of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning 1993 film; Ori Gersht’s White Noise (1999), a series of photographs in which he uses photographic techniques to record the traces of the search which obscures the image of the past; Klub Zwei’s Black and White: the other side of images (2003), a commentary on the use and misuse of images presented as historical documents; Miranda Lopatkin’s The Family Danced (2004), a photo-essay on memory and assimilation; Ann-Sofi Sidén’s Poshlust! A Quest for White Horses (2003), series of facsimilies disclosing how images are marked in their transmission.

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