Yoshinori Niwa
Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space

Installation, Video / Commissioned work



Production specifics
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst

Perhaps it’s a tattered photograph, an official-looking document, or a certain kind of book, or maybe even an entire uniform. Whatever it is, you can’t show it to anyone because it implicates your long-gone relatives in the darkest episodes of the not-so-distant past, yet you wouldn’t want to sell or destroy it either. Such objects are kept carefully stored away in the deepest of drawers and highest corners of the attic. You never really know who else owns similar relics, since their public display is illegal in Austria, but you imagine that many other people do. In his new work in public space for steirischer herbst, artist Yoshinori Niwa plays with this cultural and legal situation of privacy and uncertainty. In a public campaign, he offers to dispose of any unwanted or compromising memorabilia from the fascist era. People can anonymously rid themselves of these objects by dumping them into a container installed in the city center. The contents will be collected and later destroyed under official supervision in accordance with relevant Austrian laws. As part of this unburdening, it is important that the public will never know the exact amount or nature of what was collected, or who left the items there. The container might be full, or it might be completely empty. Niwa’s point is to activate the imagination. He wants to confront the owners of such mementos with an ethical choice: hold onto these traces of a troubled past, or make use of this “clean” method of disposal, stepping forward into the future freed of these objects.

Camera: Constantin Lederer
Video editing: Yoshinori Niwa
Graphic design: Yelena Maksutay