M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E - Mauthausen: Redeeming/Erasing/Memory


M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E - Mauthausen: Redeeming/Erasing/Memory

11.01.2022 - 06.02.2022 / MSU galerija

In a multi-year research project entitled M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E (Mauthausen's geographical coordinates), Austrian artist Marko Zink explores the trivialization of Nazi history, commemorative culture and the practice of erasing collective memory through expanded photography. It is a project that was originally realized in April 2019 for the Mauthausen Memorial where the artist exhibited photographic cycles aimed at making visible a double disappearance: the extermination of people and the eradication of memories. Selected works were exhibited at Michaela Stock Gallery in Vienna. Zink’s oeuvre there showed the seriousness of the approach to the topic and the complexity of artistic execution. These photographic cycles are premiered in Croatia at the MSU Gallery. The exhibition opens Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. Immediately after the opening of the exhibition, there will be a discussion on the experiences of commemorative practices with the participation of the director of the Mauthausen Memorial Barbara Glück, historian Ivo Goldstein,  the director of Jasenovac memorial Ivo Pejaković, head of the Documentation Center for Dealing with the Past Vesna Teršelič, artist Marko Zink and curator Leila Topić.

Mauthausen is an Austrian city where at least 90,000 people were killed in a concentration camp between 1938 and 1945. During a visit to the Mauthausen Memorial, Marko Zink uncovered a disturbing discovery: Memorial becomes a place of carefree sightseeing where the site’s horrific history is forgotten to the point where individuals create humorous selfies. In his new project, Zink is trying to restore the commemorative dignity of the place using various photographic techniques. The artist's goal is not to document, but, as the award-winning Austrian publicist Wolfgang Huber-Lang points out, to irritate and force us to take a closer look and open a complex or multi-layered discussion. The art form that Marko Zink chose is analogue photography. He subjects the films to aggressive mechanical procedures before exposing them. The films are boiled, drilled, treated with acids or an eraser. With such prepared material, he photographs selected places in and around Mauthausen such as a former sports field, a camp barracks or a linden tree near Marbacher where thousands of bodies are buried and which is today a popular leisure spot without any indication of a former massive crime scene. Photographs are presented as panoramic photographs, lenticular photographs that change along with a shift of the viewpoint of the observer, or the addition of groups of photographs. Zink does not want to hold moral-historical lessons about the horrors of Nazism but indirectly warns that consensual commemorative practices should not be conditioned by political ideologies. Inspired by Theodor W. Adorno's essay "Education after Auschwitz", Zink's photographs stimulate a debate about the need for education that would strengthen the civilization of tolerant coexistence and prevent the recurrence of the horrors of concentration camps.


 Text by Wolfgang Huber-Lang

The exhibition title could not be more objective: M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E. These are the coordinates of Mauthausen.
Mauthausen, in Austria, probably also in the rest of Europe, possibly even in the whole world, the name of the Upper Austrian place with almost 1,000 years of history can never be heard neutrally again. At least 90,000 people died in the Mauthausen concentration camp and its subcamps between 1938 and 1945. What interests Marko Zink is not documentation but irritation. He forces viewers to look carefully, opening up a multilayered debate. Using the medium of photography, he attempts to make a twofold disappearance visible: the extermination of people and the eradication of memory. It is an intensive engagement with a past that will not expire. The medium chosen by Marko Zink is analog photography. He manipulates the material before exposing it: He boils it or stamps it, treats it with chlorine or ink eraser. Using this delicate material, he photographs selected sites in and around the former concentration camp. Sometimes Zink’s works seem like found historical photos, taken quickly and in secret, bleached by the sun, half destroyed by the ravages of time. On a separate plane, the photos’ injuries seem to give an account of the atrocities that took place there less than eight decades ago. And sometimes they seem to make visible what seemingly cannot be seen anymore. With his work, however, Marko Zink reminds us that this is still possible: that which remembers the past and that which warns against what is to come—we can see it all. If only we want to.


Partners of the exhibitions: Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb, Michaela Stock Gallery.

Supporters of the exhibition: City of Zagreb, Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia

Sponsors: AUSTRIA INTERNATIONAL, Federal Ministry Republic Of Austria - European And International Affairs, Mauthausen Memorial, Cultural department of Federal State Vorarlberg, Austria, Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation in Osnabrück, Germany, The Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, Austrian Cultural Forum Berlin, Germany