Artist Horst Hoheisel, with Artistic Director of documenta 13, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, will perform the monthly cleaning of Negative Form, Hoheisel's counter-memorial to the Aschrott Fountain in the center of Kassel.
Artist Horst Hoheisel, with Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13), Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, will perform the monthly cleaning of Negative Form, Hoheisel's counter-memorial to the Aschrott Fountain in the center of Kassel, at 10 am on March 29, 2011.
The Aschrott Fountain was named after Sigmund Aschrott, the Jewish benefactor who commissioned it from architect Karl Roth as a gift to the city of Kassel in 1908. In April 1939, the narrow sandstone obelisk of the fountain in front of the City Hall was destroyed by the Nazis.
In 1987, artist Horst Hoheisel completed Negative Form during documenta 8, as a parallel project that was not part of that exhibition. In Hoheisel's work, the original, 12 meter-high fountain was rebuilt as a hollow concrete inverted model. For a few days, the copy was exhibited as a ghostly, resurrected form on the square, before being inverted and sunk 12 meters into the ground, like a mirror-image of the absent original fountain. The Negative Form is covered by a grid, so one can feel the emptiness below and hear the water falling down from the pavement into the gaping funnel-shape of the sunken memorial. It is a sound that draws us "into the depths of history," Hoheisel suggests, where "perhaps we will encounter feelings of loss, of a disturbed place, of lost form."
Turned invisible, Hoheisel's fountain is a "counter-monument" that exists orally and actively, as a rumor that keeps the history and memory of the holocaust circulating. As the artist puts it, "it is not a place to put flowers"—for him it is "a wound not to be paved or glossed over." In a monthly ritual, Hoheisel personally cleans the fountain as he has carefully done for the past 25 years.
At 10 am on March 29, 2011, Hoheisel and Christov-Bakargiev will clean the fountain together. Christov-Bakargiev states: "In this shared event, recalling feminist performances that involve the act of cleaning, the Latin term curare — meaning 'to attend to'— is taken literally, and the memory of the void, the lost form, is renewed."
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Performance 29 march 2011, 10am