Unfortunate Monument

November 1-30, 2009, ATA Window, San Francisco, CA
Curated by Liz Wing

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Unfortunate Monument, image from a de-accessioned library book (found in the basement of the library where I was employed) celebrating early Nazi infrastructure (published in Germany, 1934)

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Unfortunate Monument, Image, mirror, projector, glassine, music, speakers, and white roses with tags, 2009.

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Unfortunate Monument, Opening reception with white roses.
Roses each had quotes from and a brief bio of the White Rose Society.

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Unfortunate Monument, tags for white roses (front side).
Roses each had a tag with quotes from and a brief bio of the White Rose Society.

Members of the White Rose Society in Munich 1942 (L to R): Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst.

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Unfortunate Monument, tags for white roses (back side).
Roses each had a tag with brief bio of the White Rose Society and quotes from their leaflets that they distributed anonymously to protest the Nazi regime.

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Unfortunate Monument, Matt reading.

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Unfortunate Monument, Image, mirror, projector, glassine, music, speakers, and white roses with tags, 2009.

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Beginning with a photograph found in a de-accessioned library book celebrating early Nazi infrastructure (published in Germany, 1934), Unfortunate Monument aims to pull forward a multiplicity of moments embedded in this singular image.

For the ATA Window, a projection of the image, doubled, is paired with German composer Paul Hindemith’s Trauermusik (Mourning Music). The monument in the photograph gives clues to its origin by way of date, language, and its incriminating crown of shovels. As with all the other images in the de-accessioned book, it is a pristine, collectable, two-sided paste-in card with German text on the reverse. This card, in particular, celebrates the completion of the newest German motorway. The final sentence of the text on the card roughly and forebodingly translates: Further Works are in Preparation. Our ominous understanding of the image is connected to our present location in time, as these industrious German shovels dug pits for mass graves just a few years after they contributed to modern infrastructure.

Through the quiet, mournful tone of the music coupled with the image projection, Unfortunate Monument aims to reconstruct a new monument in the storefront window on Valencia Street. White roses will be on offer at the opening reception as a counter-offer to the image, a way of remembering and discussing the White Rose Society and the strength of that group of young German activists. A temporary monument that speaks to the power of time-construction in collective social histories.

Amanda Curreri is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. Her posi-active body of work is focused on renegotiating the routine ways we understand space and language. She recently received a Joan Mitchell Fellowship and Stipend to attend OxBow’s Artist Residency (MI), and is preparing for her Spring 2010 solo exhibition at Ping Pong Gallery (SF). If you like biscotti, she urges you to participate in an artwork on view at the Brooklyn Historical Society and accessible online at: www.joesbiscottirecipe.blogspot.com.