Irmtraud Morgner Lesen

(translation: “Reading Irmtraud Morgner”)
Installation, photography, video (memorial to the writer Irmtraud Morgner), 2008
Stadtbibliothek Chemnitz (permanently installed)

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Four staged photographs in lightboxes (60 x 40 cm each) and a digital reference work (images, texts, video sequences)

As a memorial to the writer Irmtraud Morgner in her hometown Chemnitz, I created the artwork Irmtraud Morgner Lesen, which employs a playful interpretation of her work and ideas to motivate viewers to learn more about the author and her work.

For Irmtraud Morgner Lesen, I worked with various contributors over a long period of time. Together we re-imagined, re-combined, and re-created various elements, scenes, and images from Irmtraud Morgner’s literary works. Morgner’s central themes (e.g. utopian ideals, the feminist movement, the cultural and political situation in East Germany) were incorporated into the conceptual process and formed into scenes staged for the camera.


The memorial is now permanently on display in the Stadtbibliothek Chemnitz (Chemnitz Municipal Library), and is comprised of three elements: “Lesen” (“Reading”), “Nachlesen” (“Reading About”) and “Vorlesen” (“Reading Aloud”).

The section “Lesen” presents the photos, and challenges viewers to “read” them. A simple Flash-based navigation nearby directs the user to further information, which is organized into three main areas:

  • “Bildlektüre” (“Reading Images”) includes an interactive “Bauplan des Bildes” (“Image Blueprint”) for each of the four staged photographs. These can be used to find out which passages in Morgner’s work are quoted by the pictorial elements. In addition, there are making-of video clips for the staged scenes, as well as other information (e.g. about the actors and locations).
  • A selection of biographical information and author quotes are available for users in the segment called “Nachlesen” (“Reading About”).
  • The area called “Vorlesen” (“Reading Aloud”) is comprised of video clips of people reading their favorite passages from Irmtraud Morgner’s literary work, which are presented without any interpretation or explanation whatsoever.

For the staged scenes, I worked with Thilo Fröbel (camera) and Robert Thiele (video, assistence).
An exhibition copy of Irmtraud Morgner Lesen has been shown twice so far, most recently in the exhibition Ausstellung “Entdeckt! Rebellische Künstlerinnen in der DDR” (“Discovered! Rebellious Women Artists in the GDR”), Kunsthalle Mannheim, 2011.

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