The aula in the Arkadenhof and the Jewish Museum Vienna
Presentation of hitherto unpublished pictures of the installation of the controversial Siegfriedskopf by Bele Marx & Gilles Mussard in connection with the exhibition “The University: A Battleground” at the Jewish Museum Vienna. With the artists and curators Werner Hanak-Lettner and Adina Seeger.
Before the presentation, there will be a visit to the university and the “Siegfriedskopf Controversy” and “Nobel Prize and University Group Picture with Question Mark” projects.
The Siegfriedskopf, originally installed in the aula of the University of Vienna in 1923 in honor of those killed during World War I, soon became a symbol of the German Nationalist student fraternities. Since the 1960s, the monument has been a bone of contention and object of discussion, interventions, and damage. The controversy lasted several decades until the monument was ultimately removed from the aula to the Arkadenhof in 2005/06 and placed in a new context in an art project as part of the redesign of the main building.
The artists Bele Marx & Gilles Mussard were commissioned to design and complete the project. The new context was devised with the architect Roger Baumeister and the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna under the direction of Friedrich Stadler together with Mario Wimmer. The artists “toppled” the bust from its pedestal and dismantled the monument into its component parts, shrouding it with an autobiographical narration by Minna Lachs describing the anti-Semitic attacks at the University of Vienna in the 1920s. The setting also references the book-burning. The inscription and context are now integral components of the sculpture. Writings in dictatorial regimes are censored or destroyed. If the context of anti-Semitism is not recognized in the future and the inscription attacked, the narration can “defend” itself quite literally and reassert its dominance.
Before the presentation in the Jewish Museum, the two artists, together with Herbert Posch, Department of Modern History, University of Vienna, and Klaus Taschwer, science editor of Der Standard, will speak about the two projects mentioned above.
Advance booking requested, tel. +43 1 535 0431-110 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Meeting place: 3 pm in the university aula, 4.30 pm at the Museum in Dorotheergasse
Foto © JMW / Sebastian Gansrigler