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JAMMERTHAL

neon sign, barbed wire fence, con­crete bases
2015

The term »Jam­merthal« (val­ley of tears) appears in count­less Ger­man texts – most of all dur­ing the peri­od of Baro­que – and for­mu­lates a jux­ta­po­si­tion of earth­ly life as a con­di­tion of mis­ery, dark­ness and suf­fer­ing to the heav­en­ly promis­es of sal­va­tion. The baro­que dichoto­my between this world’s sor­rows and the hopes of redemp­tion direct­ed towards the here­after has again gained great rel­e­vance in today’s world. Var­i­ous par­adis­es are desired as a reward grant­ed by a god or are con­struct­ed on islands of west­ern wealth, sit­u­at­ed beyond the seas and pro­tect­ed by her­met­ic bor­ders. Not infre­quent­ly barbed wire fences sep­a­rate the par­adis­es from the val­leys of tears: the coun­tries of free­dom and wealth beyond nation­al bor­ders, the promise of hap­pi­ness and a nor­mal life out­side the camps, enclaves of lux­u­ry amid­st slums. Those fences seem to be the mate­ri­al and ide­o­log­i­cal lines of demar­ca­tion grind­ing and wound­ing move­ments on an enor­mous scale. Is par­adise the expect­ed sal­va­tion at the end of suf­fer­ing? Or does it call for the erec­tion of val­leys of tears, which it nour­ish­es from and com­pared to the back­ground of which it presents itself as a promise?

 

Michael Hirschbichler, JAMMERTHAL, exhibition view Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, 2016

Michael Hirschbich­ler, JAMMERTHAL, exhi­bi­tion view Mar­t­in-Gropius-Bau Berlin, 2016

Michael Hirschbichler, JAMMERTHAL, exhibition view Villa Massimo Rome, 2015

Michael Hirschbich­ler, JAMMERTHAL, exhi­bi­tion view Vil­la Mas­si­mo Rome, 2015

Michael Hirschbichler, JAMMERTHAL, exhibition view Villa Massimo Rome, 2015

Michael Hirschbich­ler, JAMMERTHAL, exhi­bi­tion view Vil­la Mas­si­mo Rome, 2015

Michael Hirschbichler, JAMMERTHAL, exhibition view Villa Massimo Rome, 2015

Michael Hirschbich­ler, JAMMERTHAL, exhi­bi­tion view Vil­la Mas­si­mo Rome, 2015

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