»Herzlich Willkommen in Dachau«
9 Inkjet Prints auf Baryt, 30x40cm, Edition 10+1AP, 2010
"Es ist niemals ein Dokument der Kultur, ohne zugleich ein solches der Barbarei zu sein."
Walter Benjamin, über den Begriff der Geschichte.
Katrin Winklers Arbeit "Herzlich Willkommen in Dachau" entstand am 2. Mai 2010 anlässlich der Gedenkfeierlichkeiten zum 65. Jahrestag der Befreiung des Konzentrationslagers Dachau.
Die Künstlerin kommentiert in ihren Bildern kritisch den medienstrategischen Umgang mit Feierlichkeiten, die der Erinnerung an die Überlebenden der Todesmaschinerie der Nationalsozialisten und dem Gedenken an die Millionen Opfer des Nationalsozialismus gelten. Eine Erinnrungskultur, deren Herkunft nicht ohne Grauen zu bedenken ist.
"Welcome to Dachau" is addressing the media strategical approach to remembrance culture in Germany. After WWII, commemorative events for Holocaust victims started to develop in Germany. Following Walter Benjamin´s* " There is no document of civilization, which is not at the same time a document of barbarism" , the work observes current practices and civic rituals that address event´s in
Germany´s history. I am interested in how mechanisms of representation function in the public and how images are used, produced and reproduced within mass media.
The work focuses on the Annual Commemorative Ceremony, held on May 2nd, 2010, for the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Dachau. This ceremony functions as a memorial for the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps and as a remembrance for the ones who did not survive.
The series of photographs shows different aspects of the ceremony. Trough them I observe the set up, sequences and live programs in order to look at how history is transported into presence and how it is represented in present times.
In one of the photographs, the former German Prime Minister, Horst Köhler can be seen. In 2010 he attended the ceremony for the first time. After telling the media that military interventions abroad always follow economic interests, a scandal erupted and he was forced to resign, which shows even more his opportunistic attendance to the ceremony.
Historically the medium of photography has been central for the development of mass culture and media as it is described in Walter Benjamin´s "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". I am interested in visualizing the complexity and simultaneity of history with it´s antagonisms through the medium of photography by reflecting it´s apparatuses and it´s distribution as well.
While I was living in Germany, my work has circled around these topics for a long time; The piece "Welcome to Dachau" developed out of previous projects. For the last three years I was working on a portray and interview project with contemporary witnesses of the Shoa. I documented remembrance ceremonies for the victims of the Nazi regime, and the survivors, and the contemporary protest and resistance against fascism, racism and militarism in Germany and Israel/Palestine.
*Benjamin, Walter; On the Concept of History.
*Benjamin Walter; The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.