2010, room installation, two wall tapestries each 200 x 300 cm, slide presentation with spoken text
Positions of the Present, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin, Germany

Susanne Wehr moves into spaces far away from civilisation and explores the forest as a place of memory. Mnemosyne is the title of her compilation of various forest motifs from her extensive collection of anonymous private photographs (volksbild). The title refers to a late hymn of the German poet from the Romantic period Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), which can be read as wall text and also be heard as spoken text in the presented slide show. Manʼs ambivalent relationship to forests as an alien territory is expressed in many ways. In fairy tales, myths, and stories, forests are described as deep, dark, wild, sinister, mysterious, enchanted or dangerous. But forests also offer food, oxygen, timber or sometimes protection for outcasts or displaced persons. Nowadays, people go into the woods less for adventure than for recreation. Since the land of the forests is not (any longer) his ancestral territory, todayʼs man appear in it as an intruder.

Susanne Wehr traces these departures into the foreign/familiar and the traces of this intrusion into unfamiliar territory can be read in her photographs: one sees a fern, lilies of the valley, trees in a misty clearing, a snake on the forest floor, a deer behind a fence of wire mesh, hunters on horseback or hikers taking a rest. While the pure nature shots always seem familiar, especially the photos with people seem very strange, as if people with their time-related presence disturbe the nature free of time and history. Thus, memory is not a pure fictional territory, but a space of stored experiences that we can mentally “enter and leave again”.

Manuela Lintl

Diapräsentation/Film auf Monitor, Text von Friedrich Hölderlin “ Heimat und niemand weiß“ Sprecherin Luzia Schelling

2010, Wallpaper-Installation ca. 300 x 200 cm, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien