Stories of Traumatic Pasts

Counter-Archives for Future Memories

8 October 2020 to 3 April 2021
The exhibition Stories of Traumatic Pasts: Counter-Archives for Future Memories focuses on three European regions, their stories, and their current experiences of collective amnesia in relation to traumatic events from the past: Belgian colonial rule in the Congo, Austria after the "Anschluss" in 1938, and the denial of war crimes since 1990 after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

About the exhibition

About the exhibition

Belgian colonialism in Congo in the late nineteenth and twentieth century.
Austrian antisemitism in the twentieth century.
Turbonationalism in former Yugoslavia since the 1990s.

These three historic lines of violence and annihilation (re)enforced a process of oblivion that to this day prevents a processing of the genocides they caused. Today involuntary or performed amnesia again threatens to destroy what has already come to a point of possible coexistence. We go back to these traumatic events in history and the recent past, which had such a violent impact on communities and people, states and territories, and confront them with a system of interventions. The scars that remain after atrocities, although hidden and obliterated, are recovered through artistic, scientific, and political reflections.

The exhibition takes a critical look at three European regions, their histories, and their current experiences of collective amnesia in relation to traumatic pasts. The positions shown are interventions aimed at the present and the future and form counter-narratives against forgetting.

Stories of Traumatic Pasts is the result of the FWF research project (AR 439) Genealogy of Amnesia at the Academy of Fine Arts.

Participating artists

Valerie Wolf Gang
Nicolas Pommier
Joëlle Sambi Nzeba
Adela Jušić
Lana Čmajčanin
Bojan Djordjev
Sinisa Ilic


Dani Gal
Monique Mbeka Phoba
Anja Salomonowitz
Martin Krenn
Arye Wachsmuth
Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe

Daily except Wednesday
10 am to 6 pm

From November to December

3.11. – 6.12.2020 closed

Weltmuseum Wien

1010 Vienna, Austria

Exhibition Catalogue 2020
Stories of Traumatic Pasts
€ 30.00


Curated by
Marina Gržinić, Christina Jauernik, and Sophie Uitz

Assistance with the installation of the exhibition:
İklim Doğan, Mika Maruyama, and Jovita Pristovšek

In cooperation with

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