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Evanthia Tsantila

Standing, Greece, 2007

Video,15 min

Courtesy of Zoumboulakis Galleries for Contemporary Art, Greece

The spaces in which Evanthia Tsantila situates Mrs. Wolf standing are public, but nevertheless appear empty. The way she stands in them makes them seem uninhabited, as though they lost their identity as public spaces. However, the chosen places themselves have political dimensions. This impulse, which has many precedents in postwar art, is manifest in a will to present historical information, often lost, marginal, or suppressed, physical and spatial, indeed interactive, usually through found images, objects and texts arranged in installations. Like any archive, the materials of this art are found as well as constructed, public as well as private, factual as well as fictive. After all, Berlin, the multi-layered palimpsest of architectural and other memories, is a “city of voids,” in the words of Andreas Huyssen. “No other major city bears the brand of twentieth century history as intensely and self-consciously as Berlin. This city-text has been written, erased and rewritten throughout this violent century and its legibility relies on both visible markers of built space and images and memories repressed and ruptured by traumatic events.” In this shadow, one wonders if “Standing’s silence provocatively mimics the undoing of collective memory that followed and enabled the reunification, leaving citizens, like Ms. Wolff, “liberated,” yet their memories homeless once again. Or rather, whether it is just a trigger to induce mnemonic desire and probe the private archeology of collective memory before it will have completely vanished as a result of the acceleration of history.