Excerpt from the "behind the scenes" video footage for five of the staged photographs which were part of the exhibition project called "Pflege: Zwischen Zwangshandlung und kultureller Heldentat" ("Care: Between Compulsive Act and Cultural Heroism") in Dresden in 2004.
The inspiration for this project was provided by the 100-year flood in Dresden (August 2002). When the depots of Dresden's museums were threatened and eventually flooded, curators and indefatigable helpers carried Saxony's treasures up into the exhibition spaces. The indelible images of this heroic effort, widely broadcast in the media, were followed by countless portrayals of people engaged in the care of "cultural heritage" as well as other (also much more banal) objects. I was interested in the staging of these "caring behaviors" for the camera: the gaze, the gestures, the posture taken.
The series of ten staged photographs and the (full) making-of video material were joined by additional images, objects and film/video works to become an installation nearly 500 m² in size.
Over the course of the ten-day exhibition, we constantly changed the space, further defining it with our daily 'caring activities' (performances). Many visitors to the exhibition took advantage of the opportunities to actively participate in the process.
The various elements in the exhibition playfully referred to and related to each other. The correlation between "caring" and performative demonstrations of identity, as well as the obsessive nature of such pursuits, became tangible.
For more about this and other works by Janet Grau, see http://www.janetgrau.de
© janet grau 2004