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10 Jun 2010

Kunsthaus Dresden presents Ulrike Grossarth: The Fabric of Lublin

© Ulrike Grossarth
Photographed by David Brandt, Dresden

Contemporary Art and Historical Street Photography: Ulrike Grossarth and Stefan Stefan Kiełsznia
Kunsthaus Dresden - City Gallery for Contemporary Art


In collaboration with Kunstfonds Sachsen / Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Opening 10 June, 7 p.m. 11 June till 19 September 2010 Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday, 12 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Kathrin Krahl

Kunsthaus Dresden
Rähnitzgasse 8
01097 Dresden

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An exhibition, publication and program of events produced in a collaboration of the Kunsthaus Dresden, City of Dresden Gallery for Contemporary Art and the Kunstfonds Sachsen / Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden [Art Fund of Saxony / Dresden State Art Collections, funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes [German Federal Cultural Foundation]

In her visual art work Ulrike Grossarth engages with the unique historical street photography by the photographer Stefan Kiełsznia (1911-1987), who documented everyday life in the Jewish quarter of Lublin in 1938, shortly before the German occupation. THE FABRIC OF LUBLIN / B?AWATNE Z LUBLINA provides insight into Ulrike Grossarth's work over the last few years in which she transforms fragments of daily life in Lublin—advertising hoardings, architectonic details, and fabric patterns—into references to a living culture and society whose absence continues to be felt as an emptiness right up to the present day. Stefan Kiełsznia's street photographs, which are presented in one large space of the exhibition, document daily life in Lublin —one of the most important centres of Jewish culture in Poland— during the interwar years still untouched by the coming extermination. The photographs are a unique document of Jewish urban life and an unobtrusive chronicle of everyday life in Europe.

The exhibition and publications are being developed and produced in close collaboration with Ulrike Grossarth and Jerzy Kiełsznia, the photographer's son as well as the Ośrodek Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN [culture center Grodzka Gate – Theatre NN] in Lublin.

Digitalization, and publication of the remaining negatives and prints is a central component of this project and intended to contribute to preserve and make this piece of European cultural heritage accessible to an interested public. The tri-lingual publication (German/Polish/English) as part of the exhibition project consists of two volumes: a catalogue of the exhibition and a book dedicated to the photographs of Stefan Kiełsznia.

Thursday, 10 June 2010, 7 p.m

WELCOME by Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz [artistic director of the Kunsthaus Dresden] and Silke Wagler [artistic director of the Art Fund of Saxony]
INTRODUCTION by Astrid Schmetterling [art historian and theoretician, Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London]
THANKS by Ulrike Grossarth
Traditional Kajocki music by Ewa Grochowska [violin and voice, Lublin]

Program of Events:

Thursday, 1 July 2010, 7 p.m.

'Teaching and Learning in Distant Places'
Ulrike Grossarth, artist and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Dresden

Over the last few years Ulrike Grossarth has been working with her classes at the Academy of Fine Arts, Dresden on a method of empirically interpolating artistic subject matter in order to expand it into life themes with general relevance and thus enabling a vital and vigorous definition of culture. In this process the philosophical works of Emmanuel Levinas are central. Levinas focuses on the fundamental differences between Greek and Hebrew ways of thinking; he claimed that the former had a particular penchant for ethics. His writings, set against the background of the extremely limited possibilities for development in post-Shoah life, are an important point of reference for the development of the art projects.
Since 2003 Ulrike Grossarth has travelled with her classes to places connected with the
subject area.

Thursday, 8 July 2010, 7 p.m.

'How Inheriting Photographs has Influenced Our Way of Seeing'
Dr. Miriam Y. Arani, art historian, Berlin

What do historical photographs tell us about life in pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Poland?
Using examples, the lecture puts Stefan Kiełsznia's photographs into the context of the German language academic discussion about the history of photography. In 2008 Miriam Y. Arani was given a prize by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland for her study of the 'Photographic representation of the Self and the Other in German and Polish photography in the so called Reichsgau Wartheland between 1939-1945', an area annexed by Nazi Germany in 1939. It was the first time the prize was awarded.

Thursday, 16 September 2010, 7 p.m.

'On the Survival of Images. Materialities of Memory'
Karoline Feyertag, philosopher, Vienna/Paris

At a time when the last contemporary witnesses are dying, written material and pictures that escaped destruction by the Nazis are gaining an increasing importance. The French art historian, Georges Didi-Huberman, addresses this historical concern. His book 'Images malgré tout' was published in 2004. It is his answer to a heated argument taking place about the representation of the Shoah in film, photography and language. In the case of Stefan Kiełsznia's photographs the concern is with visual testimony of Jewish life in Lublin on the eve of the Shoah. The lecture will consider the special character of these photographs as 'materialities of memory'.