Kristina Leko

(No) Monuments for Labour and Immigration

Opening: May 2013

The Graz Annenviertel has always been home to the working people. In the times of industrialization, the emerging working class also began to organize itself here to fight for its rights and social improvements. The history of labour is thus inseparably linked to the history of immigration, both have left their traces in the Annenviertel. What is valid to this day is the fact that the Annenviertel has remained a crucial area for immigration in Graz.

The Zagreb-born artist Kristina Leko, who lives in Germany, developed a site-specific series of text artworks dedicated to this subject. In doing so, she collaborated with historians, cultural anthropologists, local associations and organizations as well as individuals who look back on a personal history of immigration.

The text artworks originally highlighted nine locations which are historically marked by the subjects of work and immigration. Mostly, this is a historical text which refers to the history of the labour movement combined with a biographical text which offers insights into the lives of immigrants who live or work here today. Five locations are still on display today.

The biographical research for the text artworks was conducted by students of European ethnology in collaboration with the artist. This has been carried out with scientific assistance provided by Judith Laister in the frame of a seminar focusing on representational critique. There have always been several individuals involved in the production process of the individual texts. One of the project’s major concerns was to facilitate meetings between students and Annenviertel residents, which took place, amongst other locations, at the historically significant sights and in the <rotor> art center.

Due to the work by the artist Kristina Leko the history of labour and immigration has for the first time become visible for the long term at several locations in the Annenviertel.



Information on historical events from the history of the working class can be read on different locations in the Annenviertel. This is contrasted by lifestories told of people who live in the area. Current locations:

Ägydigasse 12 and 14
Who were the Italian migrant workers in Graz in the 16th and 17th century? | Biographical notes of three people who come from Ghana, the Iran and Macedonia and live here now.

Dreihackengasse 2 – ISOP
About the organization ISOP, which has done intercultural work since the 1980s | Text collage created from biographical information of four people living in its vicinity.

Hanuschgasse 3 – Library of the Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK)
Historical information on the Austrian Chamber of Labour, Styria, in particular on the library | From the life of Mr. Clinton, a frequent user of the library of the AK.

Niesenbergergasse 67-69 / AMS
How the employment offices in Graz developed into today’s Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) | Text collage created from biographical information of three AMS clients.


Past locations:

Griesplatz Nord, Griesgasse 50, 8020 Graz

Monument to the snack bar San, “the best grill spot between Helsinki and Tirana”, which was run at this location by Bosnian-born Kadir Smailović between 1997 and 2002.

Annenstraße 10, 8020 Graz
How a demonstration turned into the “Grazer Blutsamstag“ (Graz Bloody Saturday) of 1919. | From the biography of Mr. Mao from China, who came to Austria at the age of 29.

Styria CenterAnnenstraße/Volksgartenstraße, 8020 Graz
On the history of the co-operative association Konsum whose wholesale opened at this location in 1926. | Notes from the life Story of a resident who lives and works on the spot. 

Strauchergasse/Volksgartenstraße, 8020 Graz
Festive assembly of the consumer cooperative Konsum in Graz in 1912.


A series of text based artworks in the Graz Annenviertel by Kristina Leko in collaboration with Judith Laister (scientific assistance), Yemi Adesuyi Ojumo, Evelyn Ark, Yakut Benan, Martin Breuss, Bruno Depiné, Katja Fischer, Bianca Flecker, Tanja Fuchs, Ayten G., Peter Gillmayr, Michael Jabbour, Kennedy, Robin Klengel, Emir Kuljuh, Kurosch, Ali Kurt, Pinar Kütük, Claudia Leitinger, Mao Liyi, Elisabeth Matlschweiger, Aline Marques, Fatima Maria N., Wolfgang Oeggl, Anna Orgler, Piso, Angela Praßl, Hildegard Ruhdorfer, Barbara Schmid, Mustafa Seyhan, Kadir Smailović, Heide Spitzer, Nora Steinbach, Kristina Stocker, Daniela Stradner, Karoline Walter, Katrin Wankhammer, Michael Windisch (biographical research), Joachim Hainzl, Leo Kühberger (historical research).

A cooperation between

< rotor > Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst

Institut für Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Steiermark

Stadtbaudirektion – Stadtteilmanagement Annenviertel

Institut für Volkskunde und Kulturanthropologie der Universität Graz


Many thanks to
Steirische Gesellschaft für Kulturpolitik
RONDO - KünstlerInnenateliers des Landes Steiermark
Kulturamt der Stadt Zagreb
Kulturministerium der Republik Kroatien


Special thanks to
Abendgymnasium Graz, Mustafa Aktas, Dr. Christian Böhm, Chiala, Raphael Copony, Claudia Dicker, Dr. Werner Fenz, Karataş Fevzi, Mag. Hermann Gössinger, Matjaž Grilj, Mag. Oswald Held, Georg Kotzmuth, Pinar Kütük, Mao Liyi, Philipp Lukas, Mag. Christian Müllner-Namor, Herbert Nichols-Schweiger, Omega, Marcel Pollauf, Robert Reithofer, Walter Rotschädl, Mag. Christian Sieberer, Manfred Stranz, Dr. Günther Terpotitz.


Art in Public Space

Marienplatz 1/1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9265



Ägydigasse 12 and 14, 8020 Graz
47°03'56.6"N 15°25'49.8"E

ISOP, Dreihackengasse 2, 8020 Graz
47°04'08.3"N 15°25'41.9"E

AK-Library, Hanuschgasse 3, 8020 Graz
47°04'19.3"N 15°25'29.9"E

Courtyard Building, Idlhofgasse 36, 8020 Graz
47°04'04.5"N 15°25'24.3"E

AMS, Niesenbergergasse 67-69, 8020 Graz
47°04'09.7"N 15°25'10.4"E


Photo gallery by <rotor>