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. For more info on the research project click here.

Participating artists

Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe
Lana Čmajčanin
Bojan Djordjev
Dani Gal
Siniša Ilić
Adela Jušić
Martin Krenn
Monique Mbeka Phoba
Nicolas Pommier
Anja Salomonowitz
Joëlle Sambi Nzeba
Arye Wachsmuth
Valerie Wolf Gang

Posters and works developed by students of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (workshop with Arye Wachsmuth)

Negra Bernhard
Henrie Dennis
Iklim Doğan
Robert Jolly
Lars* Kollros
Shaya Safaisini
Hiba Shammout
Sophie Anna Stadler
Pia S. Weissinger
Ondrej Zoricak

Daily (except Monday)
10 am to 6 pm
10 am to 9 pm

Weltmuseum Wien

Neue Hofburg, Heldenplatz
1010 Vienna, Austria

Exhibition Catalogue 2020
Stories of Traumatic Pasts
€ 30.00

Digital Content

Digital content

As part of the special exhibition, an opening and a symposium  took place in 2020. Both were recorded on video. You can now rewatch the events on our Youtube channel.

Playlist for the opening event of Stories auf Traumatic Pasts

Playlist for the symposium Stories of Traumatic Pasts


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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