October 10, 2019
Anne Zahalka’s recent work The Fate of Things is an immersive writing project that sees the artist re-write her grandmother’s letters to her daughters and develop work around the love letters that Anne’s father wrote to her mother during the war when he was fighting on the front with the Allies. The show is in remembrance of her family’s Holocaust experiences through inherited objects, remnants and writing. For this exhibition in the Villa Salon rooms in Prague, she uses the furniture and setting to situate the works.
Zahalka will also be projecting one of her great-grandfather’s photographs of the local Czech farming community, which is the region where her grandmother grew up. It depicts a woman crossing a field carrying all her belongings, barefoot and alone. Alongside Zahalka’s family photographs and writing, this image is suggestive of her grandmother’s separation from her daughters and the loneliness she felt without them.
Photographs record lost moments, lost objects, lost people. They are inherently nostalgic, offering a tangible trace of what was and that which remains. Revisiting these historical images through the descendants provides a way of reframing the past with a contemporary lens. These images prompt a deeper reflection on our forebears, the differences that separate us and the similarities that bind us. While we may stand in the place where our ancestors stood, witnessing the city’s ever-changing nature, these portraits are a way of keeping their memory alive and indelibly etched in the city’s psyche. (Anne Zahalka)
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