The Fate of Things – Anne Zahalka

Susanne Kass, Anne Zahalka, BFI, Villa P651, 07.10.2019, 18:30

The Fate of Things is an exhibition by Australian artist Anne Zahalka to be presented for one night only by The Běhal Fejér Institute in Prague. Anne, who is of Czech/Austrian/Jewish/Catholic heritage, will be exhibiting work dealing with her family’s history – in particular, the losses they suffered during the Holocaust. She has undertaken a process of remembering by imbuing tangible symbols of her family’s history, such as inherited objects, remnants and relics, with personal interpretations of second-hand traumatic memories. Using video, photography, assemblage and textiles, together with family objects, she considers her family’s fractured past through the frame of contemporary art. The artworks in The Fate of Things are a response to recalled family stories and histories in an attempt to reconnect emotionally with lost family members, particularly Zahalka’s female predecessors. While this exhibition references postmemory and intergenerational trauma, it presents the perspective of an Australian artist whose family relocated from Europe in circumstances that will be relatable to those who have suffered diaspora, trauma or isolation. The Villa (also known as P651) where the work will be presented was once the home of the Běhal family, who were also deeply affected by the Holocaust. The venue provides a very moving encounter and context in which to situate the artwork. A previous exhibition of Zahalka’s work held at the Jewish Museum in Sydney (with fellow artist Sylvia Griffith) also explored related themes and issues relevant to many, especially migrants who have had to flee their homeland and have experienced trauma and isolation as a result. Anne Zahalka is a highly regarded photo media artist who has exhibited extensively both in Australia and overseas for the past 30 years.

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