Anna Wachsmuth: The Skinny Showcase

We look at the work of Glasgow-Berlin artist Anna Wachsmuth in this month's Showcase.

Feature by The Skinny | 15 Nov 2017

Anna Wachsmuth is a German artist and photographer, living and working between Glasgow and Berlin.

She is a co-founding member of Salon 16, a cross-disciplinary platform for a discussion on contemporary arts in relation to its social and political accountability, and self publishes books and fanzines such as HalfHaiku. Anna has exhibited in Bielefeld, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Glasgow, the latest being a 'game-performance' of Reise nach Jerusalem in the GoMA. She is co-hosting Radio Dacha on Subcity Radio and some new work will be part of the Fertiliser Showcase Exhibition at Worm Aberdeen between 3-18 November.

Reise nach Jerusalem

Reise nach Jerusalem (Journey to Jerusalem) is the established German name for the game musical chairs, a highly competitive game, mostly played by children on festive events without any reflection on possible relations to the name of the game. The most common explanation is the lack of space on boats to Palestine (under the Ottoman era until 1920, when Palestine became a Mandate of the United Kingdom) related to the Zionist movements: first around the publication Der Judenstaat (The Jews’ State) by Theodor Herzl in 1896, as a response to the increasing antisemitism in Europe, and finally the escape to Israel (from 1948) around WWII.

From this point different strings of research were developed around the element of game/play, language and its normative power shaping our reality and therefore history, repetition and connectivity of human behaviour throughout history represented in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Strategies of play are crucial to Palestinians in order to deal with the oppression through the state of Israel. An example of the play with symbolism is the sculpture Seven Rocks. The common Arabic kids' game serves as a reference for the rock as a symbol of resistance of the Palestinian people (first/second Intifada) against the IDF with rubber coated steel bullets. The materiality is juxtaposed: rocks are cast in rubber that are piled up against bullets cast in concrete, also referring to the territorial dimension of the Israeli West Bank barrier, just as the glass sheets with the same width as the barrier elements.

A reflection on the creation of the body of the Other, as manifested in Western historiography, is visually introduced in the beginning scene of Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia, (black and white wallpaper), while the Mediterranean Sea (wallpaper waves) has always functioned as a natural border between Europe and the African continent to geographically reinforce this division.