The inspiration for Pflege: Zwischen Zwangshandlung und kultureller Heldentat was provided by the 100-year flood in Dresden (August 2002). When the depots of Dresden’s museums were threatened and eventually flooded, curators and indefatigable helpers carried Saxony’s treasures up into the exhibition spaces. The indelible images of this heroic effort, widely broadcast in the media, were followed by countless portrayals of people engaged in the care of “cultural heritage” as well as other (also much more banal) objects. I was interested in the staging of these “caring behaviors” for the camera: the gaze, the gestures, the posture taken.
I put together an extensive collection of such photographs from the newspaper (which laid the foundation for this work) and, in collaboration with six young students from the art school in Dresden (HfBK), used this subject matter to develop a series of staged events. The resulting photographs and the making-of video material were joined by additional images, objects and film/video works to become an installation nearly 500 m² in size.
Over the course of the ten-day exhibition, we constantly changed the space, further defining it with our daily ‘caring activities’ (performances). Many visitors to the exhibition took advantage of the opportunities to actively participate in the process.
The various elements in the exhibition playfully referred to and related to each other. The correlation between “caring” and performative demonstrations of identity, as well as the obsessive nature of such pursuits, became tangible.
READ essays about this work:
- Julia Schäfer, “Measures of Care – Reminiscences of a Visit with Janet Grau on the 11th of June 2004”
- Barbara Steiner, “Between Compulsive Act and Cultural Heroism”
MORE about the others involved in this project:
- Angela Böhme (staged photo)
- Thilo Fröbel (camera for staged photos)
- Annett Gerlach (staged photo, installation, performance)
- Katja Hoffmann Wildner (films, staged photos, installation, performance)
- Anna Krebs (staged photo, installation, performance)
- Franziska Scherner (films, staged photo, installation, performance)
- Robert Thiele (video camera, assistence for staged photos)
- Kristina Tost (films, staged photo, installation, performance)