2022 seemed to be something of a watershed year. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine showed the range of geopolitical and global economic implications an apparently regional war on European soil can have. The relative security in which the societies of Europe have weighed themselves in the past decades now appears to be approaching an end. In our interconnected world, it is evident that local conflicts inevitably have global consequences that are difficult to control. The famous metaphor of butterflies flapping their wings and so generating effects on the other side of the world is proving more relevant than ever. So, what can be done in the face of impending turmoil? And how can art respond to the current socio-political issues?
In 2023, Art in Public Space by the State of Tyrol deals with the current turn of eras and its possible effects on the region of Tyrol as a living space, but also convey developmental perspectives beyond the mainstream, so offering unusual food for thought for a better future.
The jury for Art in Public Space Tyrol 2023 (Jochen Becker, critic and curator, Berlin; Lisa Mazza, curator, Bolzano; and Esther Strauß, artist, Vienna), following the meeting of 6 October 2022, recommends the projects submitted by Richard Schwarz, Angela Anderson/Ana Hoffner ex-Prvulovic*, and Elena Romashka for realization. The three selected projects directly relate to the thematic open call ZEITENWENDE | TURN OF ERAS. They meet the competition criteria in manifold ways and undertake to address and provide new insights into current socio-political issues, such as climate change, the discrimination of women, or the war fought on European soil.
Tyrolean artist Richard Schwarz wants to “stop the time” with his project 5 nach 12 oder warum wir nicht bremsen können (5 past 12 or why we are unable to slow down). On a specific day, throughout Tyrol, as many public clocks as possible are to be stopped at 5 past 12. By stopping the clocks for 12 hours the artist aims to create a framework encouraging us to examine how we deal with time, and raise the question what might be made possible if we (temporarily) stray from clock time. Hence, the communication processes in preparation of the project’s realization are of vital importance: Are we ready and willing to stop the clocks and, even if only for half a day, ring in a turn of eras? And what will the media’s and the public’s interpretation turn out to be?
Elena Romashko’s project Paper Resistance makes express reference to the consequences of the military aggression on Ukraine. A group of paper artists from Belarus will stay in Tyrol for one month to produce, in cooperation with local paper artists, paper cuttings from newspaper pages featuring images and texts that relate to the political situation in Eastern Europe. The group aims at exploring ways in which traditional artforms may alleviate suffering, strengthen solidarity, and provide a form of expression for both individual and group protest. In addition, the public in Tyrol is to be engaged into a discourse about the situation of political violence and ways in which traditional culture and art may reflect on it and oppose it.
Angela Anderson’s and Ana Hoffner ex-Prvulovic*’s permanent installation Hexenküche – Formerly Known As aims to alter the historical memory of the figure of the witch and thus the cultural significance of witch hunts in Europe, through the transformation of a specific physical location in Tyrol. Starting from the well-known fact, that after the persecution era the figure of the witch was banned into the realm of tales and legends, the project is based on extensive research on the so-called “Hexenkuchl” (Witches’ Kitchen) located in the Mühlauer Klamm north of Innsbruck, and on the feminist struggles for abortion rights in Tyrol and their resistive appropriation of the figure of the witch. At the “Hexenkuchl,” a multi-part visual and sculptural work will be installed, which, carefully embedded into Tyrolean day-to-day life, will encourage a critical investigation into witch-hunting and the related oppression and murdering of women.