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Leon Kahane

Witnessing Loss: Memory and Culpability
1–13 August 2022

Leon Kahane, Alfred Nimal 1922-1944, 2019
Leon Kahane, Alfred Nimal 1922-1944, 2019

Film / Photography, Installation / Mixed Media, Theory / Praxis

Either Fortress Hohensalzburg (on site) or online

Teaching Language

What to bring
Laptop/tablet with camera and microphone, camera or mobile phone, personal working materials, portfolio.


Maximum number of participants

Participation fee
€ 640,– (reduced € 480,–)

When the question is asked: how to commemorate historical loss through slavery, colonialism or war, the further question arises: how to draw a picture of culpability?

In this course, students will ponder over cultural discourses around archive and memory, considering the role of artistic imagery. Awareness of culpability is central to the development of cultural techniques through which a subsequent society can be shaped by victims and perpetrators alike.

We are currently at a moment in the modern age when recognition of historical facts has to be defended against arbitrary counter-interpretation. For artists, this means selecting themes from a wealth of information and discourses, classifying them and taking an active stance in their work. What is the relation of history and its reappraisal to current social dynamics? What do we as artists wish to contribute, and how can this issue be materialised in film and photograph – and then played back into public discourse through display and exhibition?

Students will learn what roles are played by art and culture, and what attributions and what kinds of instrumentalisation can be involved. Group and one-to-one discussions offer participants room to develop their ideas and projects in art and discourse.
Leon Kahane, born in Berlin in 1985, creates conceptual video works, photographs and installations that centre on themes of migration, identity and coming to terms with majorities and minorities in a globalised society. His interest frequently focuses on geopolitical and social changes of the recent past. Time and again he calls attention to events and institutions that express the contradictions inherent in history. They reflect historical, political, economic and biographical aspects, which he takes up and explores in his works.

Especially the socio-cultural situatedness of current political debates and dynamics is central to his artistic approach, which is a form of cultural critique.

2021 Les Drancéens, Kunst im Traklhaus, Salzburg (AT). 2020 Jerricans to Can Jerry, Leipzigerstrasse 61, Berlin. 2019 Sag Shibbolet, Jewish Museum Munich, Munich (DE). Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, NS-Dokumentationszentrum Munich, Munich. 2018 Sag Shibbolet, Jewish Museum Hohenems, Hohenems (AT). Brauchen wie einen linken Populismus, ACUD MACHT NEU, Berlin. Der Wert der Freiheit, Belvedere 21, Vienna. 2017 ars viva 2017, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (DE). How to live together, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. Conditions of Political Choreography, NBK, Berlin. Dejima, GAK, Bremen (DE). Belonging to a Place, Scrap Metal Gallery, Toronto (CA). 2016 For Official Use Only, GFZK Leipzig, Leipzig (DE). L’exposition Imaginaire, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. ars viva 2017, kunstmuseum kloster unser lieben frauen, Magdeburg (DE). Pas de Deux, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. 2015 Republic of Boxes, uqbar, transmediale, Berlin. The Future of Memory, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. How to Live Together, 6th Moscow Biennale, Moscow. 2014 Disappearing Things, 55th October Salon, Belgrade. 2013 The World Is Stable Now, Gallery Alexander Levy, Berlin. Idiopolis, ReMap 04, Athens. Seen By, Museum für Photographie, Berlin. 2012 The History of Now, F-Stop Festival for Photography, Leipzig. Desertmed, NGBK, Berlin. 2011 Exit Strategies with Fabian Bechtle, Artitude Art Association, Berlin. Melanchotopia, Witte de With, Rotterdam (NL). 2010 final degree exhibition of Ostkreuz School for Photography. Glaube Liebe Hoffnung, c/o Berlin.

2018 Founding of the Forum Democratic Culture and Contemporary Art
2014 Residency in Hong Kong
2011–14 Assistant to Hito Steyerl
2010 Assistant to Wolfgang Tillmans
2010 (ongoing) Student at the University of the Arts, Visual Arts faculty, Berlin
2007–10 Photographic studies at Ostkreuzschule in Berlin.
Leon Kahane
photo: Hermann Bredehorst