To be able to remember is crucial for humans to be able to survive. And to commemorate is one of the many ways to tell ourselves where we come from and where we want to go. Every remembrance and every commemoration is the invention of a new narrative about what is considered to be the past. While historiography claims to reconstruct the truth about the past, the truth may in fact lie in peoples’ emotions and their ways to tell themselves what their past has been.
Trauma is the returning of something one has suffered from as a passive victim, in the form of its re-enactment. It is the experience of something that makes itself heard again and again, while wanting to be forgotten. Trauma produces a subject, in which individual and collective pains coincide. This is what makes trauma a socially, and not only a psychologically relevant phenomenon. Trauma is active, until it is worked through, is integrated and can be forgotten. If it remains active, it becomes coded in the pattern of neurotic compulsive repetition, re-establishing the victim–perpetrator divide again and again, producing fresh pain so one can forget older pain.
The exhibition Days without a Night
brings together a selection of works that address the topic of forgetting and remembering, of trauma and compulsive repetition, of guilt and remorse in different ways. It speaks about traumatized landscapes, scarred idylls, and about the self-infliction of pain, of stolen memories and foreign familiarities, of the process of mourning and reconciliation.
The extended programme includes guided tours with the exhibition curators and public events with some of the participating artists, such as Omer Fast and Peter Rösel.
Amar Kanwar | Anselm Kiefer | Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Steve Reich / Thierry De Mey | Christine Berndt | Gagan Singh | Gillian Wearing | Jagat Weerasinghe | Julius von Bismarck | LN Tallur | Marcel Odenbach | Nasreen Mohamedi | Nedko Solakov | Omer Fast | Oscar Muñoz | Pallavi Paul | Peter Rösel | Roee Rosen | Rohini Devasher | Santu Mofokeng | Sigalit Landau | Susan Hiller | Sven Johne | Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan | Vandy Rattana | Varunika Saraf
The exhibition is curated by Kanika Kuthiala
and Leonhard Emmerling
, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi
In collaboration with Arya Orphanage
We would like to thank all the artists and Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai; Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Filmgalerie 451, Berlin; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, London, Paris, Salzburg; Maureen Paley, London; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; Lisson Gallery, London; Liz Fernando, Colombo; Project 88, Mumbai; Rosas; Santu Mofokeng Foundation; The Makers, Johannesburg.