15. September – 4. October 2009
Miriam Visaczki and Claire Waffel’s installation concerns family history and its narration. What precisely may be described as the place of origin of a family and does this place continue to bear relevance after several generations?
While researching the German and Jewish history of the town Poběžovice, close to the German border in Western Bohemia, the focus of their research was transformed.
Poběžovice had a strong Jewish community for centuries. In the 17th century the famous rabbi Baal Shem Tov from Galicia bathed in the Mikvah of this town. Therefore, for many years Poběžovice was a place of pilgrimage for Hasidic Jews. In 1939 Poběžovice became part of the so-called Sudetenland and was annexed to Germany. The Jewish population had to flee or were otherwise killed in concentration camps. In the 1990s the Mikvah was rediscovered by a rabbi from New York, which resulted in Hasidic Jews from the US, Canada, Belgium and other countries travelling to Poběžovice again to bathe in the Mikvah.
The artists selected 8 places that form part of the research into their own family histories and documented these: Meclov, Tanvald, Svitávka, Prague (Czech Republic), Valbert, Waldmünchen (Germany), Kolomyia (Ukraine) and London (UK). In cooperation with different family members they developed a narration that links Poběžovice with these towns.
The artists are presenting works of Miriam’s father Verner V. Visaczki. He was born in Strakonice in 1944 and worked as an architect his whole life. Since retiring in 2001 he has been creating square graphic drawings, which he calls „Metopes“ after the example of square plates above the columns in a Greek temple. In these Metopes he archives encounters, birthdays, the total sum of days he has been alive into a raster of 7 by 7 squares. For this exhibition the artists have constructed a narrative out of the collection of his drawings, which is divided into chapters of the 9 places.