Yael Bartana

Chaim Hermann Steinschneider (2021)
Stage performance

The ghosts and uncomfortable imaginaries of Austrian-Jewish history come to life in Yael Bartana’s stage performance and live taping for steirischer herbst. Audiences are invited to take part in a séance, in which Bartana, working with actress Susanne Sachsse, evokes the spirit of famed clairvoyant Erik Jan Hanussen, a contradictory and controversial figure from the history of fascism.

Born into a Viennese Jewish family as Chaim Hermann Steinschneider, Hanussen was a variety performer who eventually enjoyed a meteoric career in interwar Berlin. “Passing” as a Danish nobleman and hiding his background, he eventually became a familiar of the Nazis during their rise to power but met a violent end after he predicted the Reichstag fire of 1933. The theory is that he was assassinated after his protectors and clients discovered his true identity …

In Bartana’s piece, Susanne Sachsse acts as a medium helping Hanussen return to our time. It is a present where the Nazis have done a maximum of damage, but also one where some of the 20th century’s Zionist dreams have come true, paradoxically supported by today’s ultranationalists and former anti-Semites. In this setting, Hanussen plays out one of his favorite routines—the reading of objects, from which he draws dark secrets and tragic outcomes. What would such a reading look like today? What dystopian and messianic visions would a clairvoyant and master of fake news like Hanussen draw from everyday objects, antiques, souvenirs, and ordinary things?

Visitors are asked to dress formally (1920s and 1930s style) for the séance.

Yael Bartana (1970, Israel) is an artist and filmmaker. In her films, installations, photographs, stage performances, and public monuments, she investigates subjects such as national identity, trauma, and displacement, often through ceremonies, memorials, public rituals, and collective gatherings. Her work has been exhibited worldwide and is represented in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. She currently lives in Berlin and Amsterdam.

2.10., 3.10., 19:00

Orpheum and online
Orpheumgasse 8
8020 Graz
♿ Venue accessible for wheelchairs

In German

16/12 euros

2.10., 21:00–22:10​
→  Eat and Greet

Script: Benjamin Wisler and Yael Bartana
Producer: Anja Lindner
Musical Director: Daniel Meir 
Drums: Haggai Fershtman
Art Director: Karin Beltzler
Set Designer: Florian Stirnemann
Costume Assistant: Ali Gischthaler
Hair & Makeup: Sabrina Matzer
Light: Thomas „Honig“ Ritz
Sound: Stephan „Stexx“ Taul
Director of Photography: Simon Veronig
Assistant Director: Richard Gersch
Live editing: Daphna Keenan
Set Photographer: Daniel Sheriff
Video: AV Baby
Translation: Christina Gauglitz
Special thanks to: Erik Jan Hanussen, Shelley Harten, and Naama Pyritz

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’21

With the generous support of Mondriaan Fonds
With the kind support of Artis