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"Marine Hugonnier: Anna Hanusova. 27.06.01, 5:40"
2002-11-23 until 2002-12-29
TRANS> area
New York, NY, USA United States of America

“In the year 2000, I was asked by Camera Austria, an Austrian art magazine, to contribute to an issue published in response to the election of October 1999. This request gave me the opportunity to rethink, in a context of political and social imperatives, the role of artistic activity. After spending some time envisaging what a gesture in response to Camera Austria would require (a rethink of my relationship to History), I decided to invite a women, who had been part of one of the orchestras in the concentration camps to come and play a piece of music of her choice which would be broadcast live on the Austrian national radio channel, O1." - Marine Hugonnier

" spent long months doing research which led me to meet a few survivors. I'm not sure that, for the first meetings, I was particularly convincing. Many of them wanted to forget. This raised the question of programmed memory loss and collective amnesia concerning history. These first meetings discouraged me for a time. I suddenly realized that there was certain legitimacy in the desire to forget - my own grandfather had never wanted to talk to me about what happened to him, pushing his refusal to confront the past to the point of never even going to see a war film at the cinema. I remained convinced, however, that it was still possible to confront this history with our everyday existence.

"In parallel, I read a few books on technology and its development in the 20th century in order to consider once more the complex relationship that exists between technological progress and the architecture of the "final solution" of the concentration camps.

"Then, one day, I received a response from a woman called Anna Hanusova, who lived in Brno in former Czechoslovakia. Anna Hanusova had been imprisoned from the age of 11 to the age of 15. She quickly stood out due to her natural gift for music, which she practiced regularly before the war. At Teresin, she was part of a trio known as the "Trio Room 28". Music had saved her from despair and fear, especially when the regime became tougher in 1943, when, since the infrastructure was not adapted for mass exterminations, entire groups were deported to Auschwitz.

"Anna accepted the invitation to come to Vienna and play a piano piece to be broadcast live on the radio. She understood the implications of her action perfectly in the context of Austria and the coalition government whose formation had surprised many in 1999. She took care to choose a piece, which reflected what she would have expressed in words.

"The video recording, which was filmed during the live broadcast on national radio O1 of Anna Hanusova's performance, includes images of Vienna. This images show the International Atomic Energy Authority, the UN building, the oil refinery (Olraffinerie Schwechat), the Sony and Microsoft buildings, the big wheel (the Riesenrad) and the Prater amusement park surrounding it, the Karl Marx Hof, a cinema in Vienna and the number 05 which the symbol of resistance in Austria. These various images, which punctuate the film, enable me to go beyond the political conflict specific to Austria and to place the event in an international context. These different images are to be seen as signs of our contemporary world at the dawn of cybernetics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and the mapping of DNA. “ - Marine Hugonnier

“Marine Hugonnier’s artworks are infused with her long-standing interest in the discipline of anthropology. They focus on and act out the differences between one type of perception and another: specifically the historical, social, and political ramifications of how we deal with our orientation in the present moment. That Hugonnier’s work does this makes it a covertly socio-political statement that refuses, and seeks to short-circuit in viewers on a one-by-one basis, the consensus of unthinking forward motion, routine of distraction, and easy amnesia prevalent amongst the occupants of big cities. Making works which consistently pull off this trick means never using the same aesthetic approach twice: over the past few years Hugonnier has slowly but steadily constructed an expandix of quiet unassuming and discrete works which viewers are bounced in slow motion, re-orientated and ref-framed in case by the slow, surprising transmission of the artwork’s qualities and its pervasive effect on their perceptual abilities.”- Martin Herbert, Today is Yesterday’s tomorrow from Marine Hugonnier, CGAC, 2001

Marine Hugonnier was born in Paris in 1969 and grew up in the United States and France; lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions of her work have been organized by Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam; Kerstin Engholm Gallery, Vienna; and Chantal Crousel Gallery, Paris. Her group exhibitions have included Spiritus, Magasin 3, Stockholm Konsthall; Traversées, l'ARC, Musée d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Squatters, Fundacão de Serralves, Porto, Portugal; Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism, Site Santa Fe's Fourth, International Biennial, New Mexico; My Generation, Atlantis Gallery, London; Movimientos Inmoviles, Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires; and Marine Hugonnier & Henrik Plenge Jakobson, Centre d’Art Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Swizterland.

Hugonnier’s exhibition at TRANS>area will be her first solo exhibition after her work was included for the first time in a group exhibition in United States at the 4th Site Santa Fe biennial.

She is currently working on a film she has shot during summer 2002 in Afghanistan. This project questions the idea of democracy and utopia and will be shown for a solo show at Chantal Crousel gallery, March 2003, and at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, April 2003.

TRANS> area is a non-profit exhibition space in Chelsea

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