Dates: November 12 – December 13 2014
Exhibition opening: November 11 2014, 7pm
Location: das weisse haus, Kriehubergasse 24-26, 1050 Vienna
Curator: Lennard Dost
Artists: Jennifer Mattes (Austria) – Christina Werner (Austria) – Daniël Dennis de Wit (Holland) – Wouter Osterholt & Elke Uitentuis (Holland)– Ivette Mrova Zub (Holland) – Alexander Schikowski (Hungary) – Nuria Güell & Levi Orta (Spain/Cuba) – Azahara Cerezo & Mario Santamaria (Spain) – Oliver Ressler (Austria) – Abner Preis (Holland) – Marina Gržinić & Aina Šmid (Slovenia) – Elmas Deniz (Turkey) – Katharina Swoboda (Austria) – Fabian Hesse (Germany)

www.dasweissehaus.at / http://studiodwh.wordpress.com

In the summer of 2014 I responded to an open call for international curators initiated by studio das weisse haus in Vienna.  I sent a proposal for a project about the Congress of Vienna, which in 2014 started exactly 200 years ago. They selected me. So, only nine days after I came back from Malta, I took the train to Vienna. In das weisse haus, where I resided from 22nd of September till 23rd of November 2014, I did work on an exhibition called WE ARE HERE BeCAUSE YOU WERE/ARE (t)HERE.

“In 2014 it’s exactly 200 years ago that in Vienna the Congress of Vienna started. It was right after the fall of Napoleon. A lot of things changed with the defeat of Napoleon and after this congress, which was about the political reorganization and institutional reconstruction of Europe. At the moment we are having a difficult time in Europe as well, due to several crises, whether they are financial, cultural, religious and/or moral. Europe is trying to hold on, but it looks like it isn’t up for what is happening yet. At the same time, more and more people are skeptical about Europe and the European Union, and are unsatisfied by how they are dealt with by the EU. One can wonder if the symbolic construction that Europe is, is still applicable. Or do we need another form and perhaps European symbolism, in a time when geographical borders and moral boundaries are changing? WE ARE HERE BeCAUSE YOU WERE/ARE (t)HERE, a group exhibition in which artists from all over Europe participated, reflected on the symbolism Europe uses and/or is associated with, and the moral boundaries and geographical borders changing in Europe right now. The exhibition a.o. came up with new kinds of organizational models, questioned Europe’s identity, borders, values and symbolism and reflected on this current period of struggle and uproar, and to some degree on the struggle back then”.

Dutch artists Wouter Osterholt & Elke Uitentuis participated with a video of the performance ‘celebrate diversity’. For ten days they drove around in a car with flags of the 10 most common nationalities in the city of Eindhoven (The Netherlands), trying to find out how people in the street would respond. Artist Ivette Mrova Zub created a new video about a woman from the Philippines who, after having worked in Holland for some years, and having traveled throughout Europe without official papers, went back to the Phillippines recently. In the video the woman tells us about not succeeding to live the life she dreamed of in Europe, a.o. because of not succeeding in obtaining the necessary papers. Marina Gržinić & Aina Šmid video ‘Naked Freedom (2010) “conceptualized the possibility of social change under the conditions of financial capitalism. The last part of their video re-questioned the non-EU citizens in Europe and the status of Africa in Europe and Africans trying to live and work in the EU….The video dealt with mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion and prevention of work and life in the EU.” And Katharina Swoboda created a new video installation about Caroline of Rijeka, who, after the defeat of Napoleon in Russia in 1812, persuaded the commander of the British army, that approached Rijeka on July 3rd 1813, to spare the citizens and their possessions. Shortly afterwards (on August 26th), even before the decisive defeat of Napoleon near Leipzig, the Austrian army seized Rijeka. It’s safe to say that if Carolina hadn’t been there, the city and it´s people would not be here as they are now.”

Photos © eSeL.at

The exhibition included newly commissioned work by Katharina Swoboda, Daniël Dennis de Wit, Fabian Hesse, Ivette Mrova Zub and Abner Preis and updates of existing work by Marina Gržinić & Aina Šmid and Azahara Cerezo & Mario Santamaria. All Dutch artists that participated came over for the opening.

The project was supported by the Embassy of The Netherlands in Austria.


I was interviewed about the project by Dutch newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden. The article was published in the Leeuwarder Courant on the 5th of December 2014 as well.


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