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08 Feb 2010

Swetlana Heger at Cabaret Voltaire: 'Out of the Shadow / Into the Fog'

© Swetlana Heger, 2010

Out of the Shadow / Into the Fog
Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich


Opening day: 11 February 2010, at 6 p.m. 11 February 2010 to 11 April 2010 Venue: Cabaret Voltaire, Spiegelgasse 1, CH-8001 Zurich

Adrian Notz
+41 43 268 57 20

Cabaret Voltaire
Spiegelgasse 1
CH-8001 Zürich

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Swetlana Heger
Out of the Shadow / Into the Fog

With the exhibition Out of Shadow / Into the Fog in the crypt of Cabaret Voltaire, Czech-Austrian artist Swetlana Heger (born in Brno, lives and works in Berlin) focuses her attention on Emmy Hennings (1885-1948), who in 1916 was the „true star of the Cabaret Voltaire'.

Thus, by concentrating on Cabaret Voltaire´s female co-founder, Out of the Shadow / Into the Fog looks at the feminine side of Dada, a side that in those days was as good as eclipsed by the movement´s male luminaries, and subsequently forgotten by art history.

Poet and diseuse Emmy Hennings led a life at the fringes of society. After spending an exciting time with her bohemian artist friends, she reverted to a simple, solitary existence in the Ticino with Hugo Ball, who cast a constant shadow on her own career as a writer and artist.

Swetlana Heger cleverly and confidently operates in an urban world of glamour, fashion and economy, thereby showing Hennings in a new light outside the mystification of social marginalisation and ascetic withdrawal. Numerous photographic portraits of Henning, as well as her own writings, demonstrate that she was constantly at loggerheads with her own role.

Swetlana Heger and Adrian Notz, curator of the exhibition, researched the estate of Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings in the archives of the Kunsthaus Zurich and the Centre Robert Walser in Bern, and travelled to the places in the Ticino where Emmy Hennings was domiciled. After these initial steps, Heger approached her subject literarily and biographically, by studying texts about Hennings and written by her, as well as aesthetically and visually, by analysing Henning´s visual production.

Heger´s video and sound installation for Cabaret Voltaire´s crypt puts this material into a contemporary context; her video collages confront historical photographs of Hennings with contemporary materials, and, in conjunction with American musician Billy Davis, Heger combines texts by Emmy Hennings with contemporary quotations and sound. All texts are recited by Vera von Lehndorff, or Veruschka, as the first super model from the sixties was called. They echo Emmy Hennings story in a way that is both profound and impressive. While Heger endows Hennings´ life and products with a new visual quality, Veruschka gives them a new voice.

Curated by Adrian Notz, Co-director of Cabaret Voltaire

Many thanks to Julian Schütt, the Centre Robert Walser in Bern, and the Kunsthaus Zurich.

Also, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for their financial support to the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture, as well as the Vorarlberg State Government.