Benjamin Geissler’s holographic artwork ‘The Picture Chamber of Bruno Schulz’ sleeps, folded in on itself, in a giant suitcase near the border of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic
As a Schulz fan, and out of a sense of awe of the strangeness and depth of feeling behind all the events that followed Geissler’s re-discovery of Schulz’s murals, I am desperate to see the holographic version of the pantry and the murals. But it doesn’t look as though that will be very easy.
The difficulties today relate directly to the circumstances of the creation of the murals.
Back in 1942, in Drohobych, in Ukraine, through the winter, Bruno Schulz, a Jewish man who wrote a small number of startlingly vivid surreal stories in Polish and made etchings, covered the walls of a pantry in a Gestapo Commander’s house with a series of grotesque fairy tale images. Schulz was shot later that year, in November 1942. After the war power changed hands again and again and the murals were ‘lost’ until German documentary film- maker Benjamin Geissler tracked them down in 2001.
In Lost and Gone Away I have re-told some of the story of what happened when the ‘find’ became known. In terms of the facts, the murals were mostly removed from the walls and taken to different places. In terms of the emotions of the story, the facts are the result. You could never make up a story so fierce.
Fortunately, Geissler had filmed the pantry before any of these changes happened. He used that film to create the holographic artwork ‘The Picture Chamber of Bruno Schulz: The final work of a genius’. You can see the set-up of the holographic pantry here: http://www.benjamingeissler.de/Die-Bilderkammer-des-Bruno-Schulz-MGB-Berlin-Gallery.htm
This week I asked Geissler where ‘The Picture Chamber of Bruno Schulz: The final work of a genius’ will be showing in the summer of 2016. I learned that ‘The Picture Chamber of Bruno Schulz: The final work of a genius’ is parked up at the moment, at Großhennerdorf near the border triangle of Germany, The Czech Republic and Poland. Geissler is unsure when or where he will be able to show the work next. It is common to think that making art is the hardest part of being an artist. Maybe it is. But right up there, equal in difficulty in my view, is the problem of finding money to show the art.
Perhaps I will end up visiting the work in a suitcase, in a storage unit, in a complex part of Europe? This week I am almost overwhelmed by the feeling that the suitcase is the pantry re-closing itself around the murals, or the murals gathering the suitcase in around themselves. But visiting the site may make a very different impression. I am rather prone to over-metaphorising.