Wie banal ist das Böse? – curated by

Galerie Ernst Hilger

  • 14.09.2018. - 13.10.2018

Curator: Katarzyna Uszynska With works by: Tania Bruguera, Maria Bussmann, Romana Drdova, Alfred Hrdlicka, Alena Kotzmannova, Sigalit Landau, Mikolaj Malek

In her famous book -Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil-, Hannah Arendt no longer analyses evil merely as a part of an ideology, a world view or a system, but rather as an everyday phenomenon that can take effect in every fellow human being #x2013 and in oneself #x2013 due to a lack of willingness to take responsibility for one#x2019s own actions. In her sensitive drawings, which are to be read as thought-images and associations with regard to the texts of Hannah Arendt, Maria Bussmann creates open comments relating to the author#x2019s philosophical writings. Similarly, Miko#x142aj Ma#x142ek#x2019s gouache paintings were also inspired by Arendt#x2019s publications. By incorporating her texts in his gouache works, he extracts them from their original context and underscores the continuity of evil, the -dark times- and the inevitability of historic recurrence. Alfred Hrdlicka#x2019s oeuvre can be regarded as a perpetual plea against a world of bourgeois coldness and bureaucratic misanthropy as a constant accusation of a society that denounces compassion as superfluous and humaneness as inefficient. The exhibition presents his sculpture -The Desk Perpetrator-, which unmasks Eichmann#x2019s world as the spawn of bourgeois coldness that replaces humanity and empathy with ideological rigidity and organisational efficiency. His etchings relating to the topography of terror amplify Hrdlicka#x2019s fervent appeal against fascism, war and violence, false heroism, conformity and opportunism. From the outset, the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera has viewed her art as a medium for political criticism and change. Thus, she is pictured sitting at home in an armchair and reading aloud from Hannah Arendt#x2019s book -The Origins of Totalitarianism-, recording herself with a microphone. The text is superimposed with the sounds of a bar and construction #x2013 or rather deconstruction #x2013 noise in the street. In this way, her recitation turns into a symbol of the fight for the freedom of thought and words, as well as the corresponding reactions of totalitarian systems. This performance was preceded by her work -Tatlin#x2019s Whisper No. 6-, staged in Revolution Square in Havana, where she invited people to voice their political opinions and insist on their right to critical dissent via a microphone a public intervention that ended with her arrest and subsequent placement under house arrest. The Czech photographer Alena Kotzmannova traces the ostensible normality of evil by presenting pictures of the former office premises at the Rudolfinum in Prague of the head of the Reich Main Security Office and acting Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia Reinhard Heydrich, who was responsible for horrible war atrocities and crimes against humanity in connection with the Holocaust. An enthusiast for classical music, he nevertheless installed his office at the Rudolfinum so as to be able to attend rehearsals and performances of the orchestra at any given moment. In her video -Salted Lake- (2011), in which she melts the snow of the Polish winter using boots overgrown with salt crystals from being submerged in the Dead Sea, the Israeli artist Sigalit Landau questions and challenges the hackneyed, trivializing treatment of the Holocaust.