Zum Hauptmenu  Zur Unternavigation  Zum Inhalt

Sie befinden sich:

 home > Publications > Texts > Prof. Horst Gerhardt Haberl - Straße des 13 Januars




                                                      Straße des 13. Januar

Art is a political affair. Art is even political when it only serves as mere decoration of public or private presentation. Art becomes eminently political when it appears outside of it's usual museumbound existence and thereby directly influences public awareness. Mia Unverzagt, within the framework of a project seminar at the Saarbrücken College of Fine Arts,reacted with an actionistic intervention to the problem of an artist's scope for creative action with regard to the Neue Bremm concentration camp memorial.

Her project, „Straße des 13. Januar,“ reflects the Saar referendum of 1935 with the provocative claim that more than 90% of the region's inhabitants voted for „coming home to the Third Reich“ at that time. She spread her message via posters and postcards and set up (as permanent installation on the part of the city administration) blank signs without writing on them under the regular street signs indicating „13. Januar“ on this street between „slaughter house and police barracks“ that had been abandoned by the public concience.

The „memories“ posted in the city just in time for January 13th and the reports in the local paper gave rise to direct objections by thise who had voted in the Saar referendum and by their descendents. The tenor of these (old) reproaches toward the (young) artist was that guilt had been mistakenly attribute: They stated that they had voted for Germany, noit for Hitler's Germany- Tehy had no other choice and had „voted for Germany not because but in spite of Hitler.“ Even in conversations it was difficult to explain that this was a matter not of pointing fingers at culprits but rather of remembering, time and time again, the decision's fatal consequences, which we must prevent from ever happening again.

Mia Unverzagt, with her sculptural and media-based intervention in the public spaces of the city of Saarbrücken, transforme the „Straße des 13. Januar“ into a memorial, an admonition not to believe that the ghosts of the past have been exorcized when really they have only been repressed.

She made that which had been repressed tangible once again; she made the invisible visible. In the face of the nationalism and racism that are again flourishing worldwide, the artist's memory work is directed, quite consciously, at our present time.

Prof. Horst Gerhard Haberl