Sabine Bitter & Helmut Weber: A Monument Beyond Itself
March 11 – April 7, 2022 | The Cabinet: 4th floor – SFU Goldcorp centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver | FREE
Reception: March 11, 4:30 to 5:30 PM. All welcome! Refreshments will be served!
The work comprises photographs taken in 2018 while visiting the vandalized and disfigured colossal monument, Mound of Brotherhood, or Bratska Mogila, in Sofia, Bulgaria. A prime example of Socialist Realism, the war memorial was installed in Freedom Park (now Borisova Garden) in 1956, and has provoked reflection on the different social, political and economic eras in Bulgaria ever since. The 41-meter-high obelisk at the centre of the monument is flanked by two gigantic bronze reliefs of human figures. The reliefs depict a wide swath of the Bulgarian people welcoming the Red Army in 1944 and celebrating the victory of socialism over fascism. Yet, instead of representing the idealized and overly optimistic individuals of the original public sculpture, Bitter and Weber’s installation depicts the monument in ruins. Specifically, it highlights the parts of the statues that were sawed or hacked off, presumably because of the high value of bronze, with strategically placed, black and white closeup images of severed arms and legs. A Monument Beyond Itself works to demystify the heroism commemorated by Bratska Mogila by drawing our attention to the commonplace disasters of war.
At this moment, when we stand in solidarity with the people in Ukraine, who suffer from an aggressive war launched by Putin’s regime, the monument against fascism and imperialism again takes on new meanings.
Curated by Denise Oleksijczuk.
Vancouver and Vienna based artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber collaborate on projects addressing the politics of how cities, architecture and urban territories are made into images. Mainly working in the media of photography and spatial installations their research-oriented practice engages with specific moments and logics of the global-urban change. In 2004, they formed the urban research collective Urban Subjects with Canadian writer Jeff Derksen.
Selected exhibitions; 2021: Bitter & Weber: Performing Educational Modernism, SAAG, Lethbridge; Education Shock, HKW Berlin; 2020: Spaces of No Control, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York; 2019: Making Ruins, Republic Gallery, Vancouver; Urban Zones, FOTO Vienna; 2018: Camera Austria International, Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg; The Island is What the Sea Surrounds, Valetta, Malta. www.lot.at
The Cabinet and Simon Fraser University are located on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.