Biennale Gherdëina 5, Ortisei (I)

22. 07. – 11. 09. 2016
Group Exhibition
from here to eternity

curated by Adam Budak

photo shed © Simon Perathoner










During the running time of the Biennale Gherdëina Kapfer installed a 4,3 m wide wooden facade (…). We are looking at a reconstruction of the cover shed on the ledge of Cengia Martini on the South side of the small Lagazuoi between Ortisei and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Technically it is the reconstruction of a reconstruction. The shed was destroyed and has been rebuilt on site for tourists seeking the traces of the war in the Alps. The title fo the work is Berge in Flammen (eng: Mountains on Fire) after the book of Gardena-born Luis Trenker Berge in Flammen, the novel of the great war in the Dolomites, 1915–1917 (1931). Franz Kapfer has a background in performance. His more recent works have the character of set design or stage props. The visitor is confronted with a dramaturgy he quite literally can’t evade.



Kapfer, Recherchematerial © Alfred Büllesbach / Visum

Kapfer, Recherchematerial
© Alfred Büllesbach / Visum










On the other side of the wall adjacent to the shed is Kapfer’s large-scale sculpture deriving from a canyon in the rocky Alps. The black surface is the void between the cliffs. The protruding triangles on each side are corridors that were blasted into the rock for the war. The negative form of the canyon recalls the form of a dagger. The ’stab-in-the-back-legend‘ was a conspiracy theory fabricated by the German Supreme Army Command to blame the defeat of the German Empire on the social democrats (as well as Jews and Communists) (…). This propaganda fueled the arguments of the Nazis and subsequently their political rise.



Kapfer, © Der Standard, 29.11.2013, Gerald John

Franz Kapfer, "Die letzten Tage der Menschheit", 2016

Franz Kapfer,
„Die letzten Tage der …“, 2016












The front side of the stab-in-the-back-installation titled Die letzten Tage der Menschheit (2016) after Karl Kraus (The last days of mankind), is black. The backside is covered in a collage of images from the region’s history. The First World War, the bomb attacks, the negotiations, the UN treaty… – the entire drama from its beginnings up to this day. But when did it begin? Maybe it was just part of the history of mankind and changing power relations. South Tyrol was occupied by the Teutons, Ostrogoths, Romans, Baiovarii, Langobards, Raethians, by the Duchy of Bavaria, the Counts of Tyrol and the House of Habsburg before it became part of the Italian Monarchy and consequently the Republic of Italy.

For Franz Kapfer especially Val Gardena is a place, where the impressive nature of the region and the massive tourism it attracts, clash. Amidst this idyllic surrounding Kapfer places memorials of a war, that is locally inscribed. It is also in a more general sense a memorial for the history constantly repeating itself.

Text: Victoria Dejaco

catalogue available