MONUMENT 0.3: The Valeska Gert Museum

The Valeska Gert Museum operates through a collection of performative acts related to the life and work of German artist Valeska Gert. While rethinking notions of memory and archive, this embodied museum, in empathy with Gert’s own migratory life, uses the entire architecture of a host museum.

Valeska Gert was an avant-garde artistic figure. From the early 1920s on, she developed a performance practice combining theater, dance, cinema, poetry and singing, a mixture of expressions familiar to Berlin’s cabaret scene of that time. Gert created radical performance art by experimenting with gender, race, national identity and aesthetics. Unlike other famous artists of her time, she never complied with the artistic hegemony of Nazi Germany. Despite her artistic fearlessness, provocativeness and anarchic intensity of performance, the importance of Valeska Gert’s role in art and dance history has been disregarded for a long time. Her love of the grotesque and her insistence on creating new representations of the body to counter bourgeois aesthetics, made her one of the greatest artists of her time. Without her radical experimental endeavors, a whole range of artistic productions of the 20th century would not have emerged.

To defeat the blind spots of historical consciousness, The Valeska Gert Museum does not just dismiss amnesia. Fuelled by the desire to trigger relationships between the past and the present time, it invites visitors to encounter a historicity away from the art history canon. This entails reactivating certain energies from the past in the present and leading the spectators through an empirical-archival venture, where autobiography replaces art historical discourse and the labor of imagination fills the gaps created by the lack of historical documents. As the museum’s collection unfolds, an archaeological site appears, in which the untraceable, unheard and unseen are re-hallucinated, giving rise to a new territory of meaning and sense of intimacy.

The Valeska Gert Museum was developed after MONUMENT 0.3: Love Letters to Valeska Gert, a sound installation by Eszter Salamon presented in the frame of a group exhibition Art-Music-Dance, at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in 2016.

Monument 0.3: The Valeska Gert Museum creates likes to the following works by Valeska Gert: Zauberer (1931), Diseuse (1922), Pause (1920), Japanische Groteske (1917), Versammlung (1931), Canaille (1919),  Modedame (1917), Das Baby (1920’s), Kupplerin (1920), Chansonette (1926), Zirkus (1920’s), Komödie (1927), Tragödie (1929), Erzengel (1927), Koloratursängerin (1928), Zärtlicher Walzer (1924), Salome (1921), Orgasm (1922), Jubile (1951), Grüsse aus dem Mumienkeller (1926), Ich bin eine Hexe. Kaleidoskop meines Lebens (1968), Schlummerlied (1950’s)

Concept and artistic direction Eszter Salamon Artistic collaboration Boglárka Börcsök Choreography and text Valeska Gert, Eszter Salamon, Boglárka Börcsök Performance Boglárka Börcsök and Eszter Salamon Production & organization Botschaft Gbr / Alexandra Wellensiek, Studio E.S / Elodie Perrin With the support of Foundation Boghossian-Villa Empain, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, the Regional Directory of Cultural Affairs of Paris – Ministry of Culture and Communication and the NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ (NPN), Coproduction Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and Fonds Transfabrik, a German-French Fund for Performing Arts Thanks to Liza Baliasnaja, Mario Barrantes Espinoza, Nestor Garcia Diaz, Robin Diehl, Stefanie Lingener, Marie Messien, Herman Sorgeloos, Yvonne White

©Karolina Miernik