Foto Trafačka 16. 10. 2012 - foto: Karel Konopka

The "meraner gruppe" is an artists' collective based in the region, consisting of Sabine Auer, Franziska Egger, Hannes Egger, Sara Schwienbacher and Peter Tribus. The group deals with various social and political aspects of South Tyrol as well as global issues in general by means of artistic expression, with their art projects being mostly participatory in character.

In 2012 the artists' collective addressed the relations between South Tyrol and the Czech Republic. The small South Tyrolean town of Brixen is well-known to the Czechs, as Karel Havlíček Borovský was banished there in 1851. The meraner gruppe comes from the region: over a year ago, in the course of its research, it encountered the personality of Havlíček and his involuntary stay in Brixen. Havlíček and his story are largely unknown to most of those living in South Tyrol: to the Czechs, however, Brixen is quite familiar on account of Havlíček's exile. Havlíček did not have anything good to say about Brixen: "[...] I can sincerely and succinctly state that Brixen and its surroundings are a miserable dump, ruined through the abuse of religion and full of fools and hypocrites, with very few exceptions, whose acquaintance I have yet to make even after a stay of 13 months. [...] And Brixen is, in the general opinion of the Tyroleans themselves, the worst area in this regard!" (Karel Havlíček Borovský: letter dated 1 February 1853 to Emilie Zöldnerová in Prague).

In spring 2012 the meraner gruppe artist's collective, together with the Brixen historian Hans Heiss, went on an excursion and artistic research visit to Brixen to see the original historical locations. Among other places they visited the Hotel Elephant, where Havlíček spent his first months in Brixen and afterwards took his meals. His various residences in Brixen were also seen. The trip concluded with a visit to the farmhouse where Havlíček lived most of his time in Brixen. The two plaques mounted on this building (one in the 1920s and a second in the 1990s) have made it into an official memorial site, frequently visited by Czechs. Brixen's only sign in Czech indicates the way there. A video work was produced on the basis of the trip to Brixen and the discussions with Hans Heiss: it now forms the central theme of the exhibition. The focal point of the exhibition is an installation citing Havlíček's "commemorative site" in Brixen. The exhibition also contains ready mades that address the visit and investigation by the meraner gruppe.

At the centre of the artistic argument are the five years spent in Brixen by Karel Havlíček Borovský as seen from a South Tyrolean perspective. This will undoubtedly produce a new and exciting view of Brixen for the Prague public. The exhibition is curated by the South Tyrolean philosopher and translator Haimo Perkmann, while the Prague musical formation "DekadentFabrik" has offered to appear at the exhibition opening.


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