From the opening to conclusion of LIEBEration 175, a queer Holocaust history performance art and photography project, public space has been its constant companion, a dialogue partner, a participant in its own right. The photographic survey of the memorial site conducted by my fellow artist Giada Cotugno focused on its diverse surfaces, liminal spaces and ambiguous details and served as an inquiry into correlation among physical environments, phenomena, objects and collective & individual memory. Here is Giada on spaces, in her own words:
“What felt clear from the very beginning is that spaces were our witnesses, in our experience of being there at that specific moment and time of our lives. And the images of walls, details, stones were somehow a very articulated diary of the textures of my and our experiences. Spaces and images of them are and were a clear stand on ‘here and now’. In the work of coupling action and space pictures into single whole images, just in three cases I decided to re-connect a narrative within them: in mascara-lipsitck and high heels with the entrance gate details and the stress-test series. In a way, this was natural. If you were or will be at Sachsenhausen you’d recognize that space and the narrative of it.
The only other image of space that is connected to a narrative (in this case, a personal one) is the champagne toast which was a very particular moment in my own LIEBEration experience. The space picture is also a hidden self-portrait with red umbrella as a statement in support of sex workers’ rights.
In the rest of the work, I mostly have been looking for balance and interaction between images in shapes, structure, colours and sometimes gestures as an aesthetic choice and to make visible the relationship between our actions, our being there physically and emotionally and the actual spaces of the present camp. Actions and spaces are different forms of emobodiement and it’s what made LIEBEration 175 at Sachsenhausen a whole holistic process.”
Here is more from Giada’s visual exploration of Sachsenhausen: