201406 Organisches Denkmal Szauder2

Foto: Organic Monument of World War I, by David Szauder

The Grand Illusion. Central Europe during World War I
Or: through the Glasses of the Unreal

Installation – Literature – Cinematography – Photography

The Collegium Hungaricum Berlin (.CHB) is showing in its Moholy Nagy Gallery an exhibition on the occasion of the centenary of World War I. The Grand Illusion exhibition on the basis of the 1937 film by Jean Renoir explores the seeming truths, realities and ideals in connection with this historical event of global political

Selfdeception of vast proportions made World War I at the beginning naively thought of as a short military campaign become a Grand Illusion: “We shall be home by the time the first leaves fall.” The farewell of the first troops marching to the front in August 1914 sounded highly absurd as early as 1915.

“Ich warte auf das große Wunder” (lit. I am waiting for the great miracle) a song from Imre Kálmán’s operetta “A Csárdáskirálynö/Die Csárdásfürstin” was the source of inspiration for dealing with World War I in terms of illusions. The .CHB together with Budapest and Berlin based artists elaborates on this idea in the form of seven installations and a panel discussion. The collapse of monarchies and the birth of revolutions were the results of two things: an unshakable faith in making the world a better place by means of war and the supposedly collective cultural unease of Europe in the imminent 20th century. Interconnected multimediabased installations on the first and second floors of .CHB add up to create a wormhole effect which visualises civilization in shock.

The wormhole comprises seven main illusions:
1. Hesitieren – Das Attentat (Hesitation – The Assassination)
Timea Anita Oravecz
2. Der Ausflug ins Gebirge / Franz Kafka (Excursion into the Mountains)
painting and multimedia
Lilla von Puttkamer and Mutaboroo
3. Krasnaja Recka / Csárdásfürstin: Gefangenentheater im sibirischen Lager
(Theater of the prisoners in a Siberian labor camp)
Oliver Oefelein
with the documentary: It’s Showtime Siberia by Péter Kalmár
4. Simulation game Renegotiating Peace
interactive screening
Gáspár Battha
5. Organic Monument of World War I
Dávid Szauder
6. Der verirrte Reiter / Endre Ady
sound and textbased installation
7. Solitude
multimediabased installation
Anna Réka Baktay and Viktória Hitka

as well as excerpts from:
Amorouse Geography video (Szabolcs KissPál)
Wie Jappe und Do Escobar sich vor dem Weltbrand prügelten / Frei nach Thomas Mann, film (Gábor Bódy)