edited by: Anda Rottenberg
graphic design: Dorota Kraszewska, Maciej Sikorzak
publisher: Zachęta - Narodowa Galeria Sztuki
Gregor Schneider, one of the most highly regarded contemporary German artists who was awarded the Golden Lion at the Art Biennial in Venice in 2001, is realizing his latest project called “Unsubscribe” in Zachęta. In this work, Schneider again deals with the question of house, in both material and symbolic terms.
As was also the case in his earlier realisations, here we find reference to the artist’s place of birth – the town of Rheydt in Germany. Here also was born Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of the Third Reich. “This house found me itself,” says Schneider of the standard small town building in which Goebbels spent the first few years of his life and which, after by chance coming across a for sale advert, the artist decided to buy from the family who then lived there. The averageness of the house seems to hide the diverse stories of its successive inhabitants. Gregor Schneider explores the story of the creator of German propaganda as both an incarnation of evil and as a figure of a normal German family in the context of fascist politics.
Schneider’s decision to buy the house together with its contents (remnants of furniture, the remains of the library, garden tools, etc.), to carry out a detailed documentation and finally to dismantle it enable a return to history in both its particular and general dimensions: this is a work with both individual and group history. “May it at last disappear,” an inhabitant of a neighbouring house said to Schneider. The artist’s ambition is to destroy, to annihilate the different fragments of the house, without however enabling the memory of this place to disappear completely. The problem with memory, with history and with unwanted monuments is a universal problem, and one which also concerns us.
To Warsaw will be brought rubble from the building. The act of transporting rubble from Germany to Poland introduces an additional, dramatic and critical element into a project whose effect is not just the final exhibition in Zachęta, but the whole process to which the artist submits the building, treated as a mute witness of history.
The exhibition “Unsubscribe” can also be considered in the context of the exhibition “Progress and Hygiene” running simultaneously in Zachęta and also curated by Anda Rottenberg.
After the opening of the exhibition, a book will be published documenting the whole process and containing comments from the artist, curatorial texts and also an essay by one of the most outstanding German critics, Ulrich Loock.