MEMENTO is based on the (un)spoken experiences and memories of my grandmother Lea Balas Vidakovic, who was deported to Auschwitz at the age of 14. The exhibition consists of animations, videos, soil, cakes, suitcases, documents and artefacts. It is based on senses of taste, smell and textures which are meant to trigger the viewer’s emotions and feelings connected to those of my grandmother. I chose the way of remembrance which only subtly touches the terrifing scenes and narratives of Holocaust. From a distance, many details from my grandma’s stories and memories are abstracted, but the feeling of being then and there is ubiquitous and as such it immerses the viewer into the dimensions of immediate sensual experience.
…the first and strongest impression when encountering Lea‘s exhibition was the soil that covers the floor of the gallery. This is a sensual experience or rather the sensual answer to the question what is Holokaust. For Lea, the black soil represents the visible border between us and those who are no longer here, or maybe, the border between us and the Holocaust itself.
…what Lea, and all her generation bring us is the individual, personal vision of Holocaust but also new knowledge about this event, the knowledge that has still no place in neither commemorations, archives and museums of Holocaust and the vision which is not a representation of death, but of vitality and fertility of memory. Memento is the imperativ of remembering, an instruction that we must remember and never forget, but it is also an object which reminds us, a souvenir of an event. Thus, this exhibition which carries the same title is the author‘s warning not to forget, and at the same time, it is a gentle souvenir of family remembrance.
From the exhibition foreword by Dr Vera Mevorah