Catrin Bolt

Continuous text

Opening: 2013 (as a temporary project) / reopening: 10.11.2021, 4 p.m.

The November pogroms of 1938 have gained decisive historical significance because violence against the Jews was officially incited for the first time, resulting in parts of the state apparatus and population brutally assaulting their fellow Jewish citizens in broad daylight. In Graz, not only the synagogue was set on fire, but, like many other Jews, Chief Rabbi David Herzog, was also dragged from his flat onto the street in the middle of the night, maltreated and repeatedly threatened with death.

As an artist working with various different media, Catrin Bolt opted for the written medium in her proposal for a contemporary memorial. She uses David Herzog’s written report as a continuous text, applying it to the pavements along the route upon which he was driven through town—starting from his former domicile in Radetzkystraße 8 and continuing to Griesplatz.

Urban space as a central area of public life, especially at that particular time, was used to propagate power and exclusion, thus becoming a narrator of its own history. Writing not only serves as a symbol for developing awareness and reflection, historiography and communication, but as a continuous text, it also becomes a sculpture.

This memorial, however, is not only a symbolic or representative monument that exhibits suffering and acts as a warning on behalf of the population; it rather challenges its beholders and actively integrates them into the process of remembrance. The situation as it was unfolds before our eyes via the subjective report, not only informing us in a theoretical and transformative way, but also allowing us to follow the real route, relive sequences, touching us directly, but subtly. Based on an individual fate, we are able to experience the gruesome dimension of mass fanaticism in all its atrocity.

This work not only has the intention—in the classical sense of a memorial—of pointing to the past and warning for the future, it rather generally addresses the use and abuse of public space for the sake of political power both via its design and textual content. For it is a fact that issues, such as how to understand and define public space, who may occupy or take possession of it, or who should take a marginal or central position, have repeatedly been the subject of discussion. It is clear, then, that public space is not a living room, hence a private realm, from which one can simply expel the undesirable. Today, it is more a question of how far economic interests are affecting and controlling public space as a generally accessible and available area. Art is neither comparable with commercial advertising, nor does it serve to beautify our environment—it plays a special role in our lives, particularly in public space, because it greatly contributes to democratic understanding and self-reflection within society.

On November 10th, we are going to present the reinstalled memorial in cooperation with the Jewish Community Graz. A brochure with David Herzog’s report including explanatory texts written by Heimo Halbrainer, Gerald Lamprecht and Cornelia Offergeld will be made available. The brochure is available free of charge at Radetzkystraße 8, in cultural institutions and in the tobacco store Nussbaumer on Griesplatz.

Cooperation partner:

Art in Public Space

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



Radezkystraße 8 via the Grieskai, Rosenkranzgasse, Kleegasse and Brückenkopfgasse to the Griesplatz