Behind the Back of Time: A Chernobyl Project

by Judith Sone
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When and Where

Opening Reception: February 6, 2014, 5:00–7:00 pm (remarks from the artist, 5:30)
Exhibition: February 6–April 6, 2014
UW Hillel         hours and parking
611 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703

About the Exhibition

Behind the Back of Time is an art project about Jewish traces in the region of Chernobyl, about historical layering, and about the questionable nature of language. Several years ago, artist Marion Kahnemann was invited by the Ukrainian Union of Jewish Students to participate in a project in Kiev, the guiding idea of which was to engage with the region of Chernobyl and, among other things, its Jewish past.

Click to view slide show. Wave cursor over image for more information about each work.

Because of the complexity of the topic, she decided on a fragmentary approach that would incorporate media other than those already familiar to us. This approach enabled her to open the topic up for the questions that came to her while observing, reading, and engaging with eyewitnesses. The exhibition asks questions of history, both before and after Chernobyl, of our use of language, and of our approach to diversity and ideology. In six chapters, the installation explores the region around Chernobyl from a Jewish perspective. It is not limited to the reactor catastrophe and its immediate aftermath. It is concerned also with questions of its incorporation into the larger historical narrative and the role of these questions in the process of the construction of identity in present-day Ukraine.

About the ArtistMarion_Kahnemann_480x312

Marion Kahnemann works as a freelance artist in Dresden, Germany. She studied at the Art Academy in Dresden in the department of sculpture. Since 1988, she has held numerous exhibitions in and outside of Dresden, including Berlin, Sofia, St. Petersburg, Wroclaw, Basel and Oakland, California. She has received various awards and grants, including the Art Award of the city of Dresden and a Buber Fellowship with the Institute for Jewish Studies in Stockholm. Among her works include a monument for the deportations of the Dresden Jews at the Railway Station (2001), a wall design at Paideia in Stockholm (2002) and, from 2007 to 2009, she created in three parks in Dresden “Denkorte” – places of memory and uncertainty. The three “Denkorte” (Places of thought) were inaugurated by the mayor of Dresden on Yom HaShoa 2009.


hillelLOGO redBehind the Back of Time: A Chernobyl Project was made possible through a generous grant from the Anonymous Fund of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It is also sponsored by Hillel of the University of Wisconsin, the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), the Friends of Chernobyl Centers, US (FOCCUS), the City of Dresden, and the Schusterman Foundation.CREECA_4c_CFOCCUS logo