Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2020
Photo by Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf
Design by Yelena Maksutay
Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space
2020, Documentary video series on the Internet (the length of the video is undecided) and Clothing collecting container
Originally commissioned and produced by steirischerherbst’18
Düsserdorf ver. is organised within the frame of the group exhibition "Empört Euch!" at Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf
Austria was a part of Nazi Germany from 1938 to 1944, and especially the city of Graz was given an honorary city title “City of Popular Uprising” because of its pre-Anschluss (pre-annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany) pro-Nazi demonstrations. After World War II and Nazi-Germany, Austria became an independent country as a neutral power, being prohibited to merge with Germany again. However, it is said that many people in Austria still keep relics of their family such as Nazi or SS uniforms, which are prohibited to be shown in public, and they seem to not know what to do with it as to how to store or dispose of it. In this TV series, Niwa installs a clothing collecting box at the central park in Graz and calls for residents via mass-media including newspapers and magazines to participate to throw away their relics that are related with Nazi, prohibited to be shown in public, into the box. And he visits their apartments to encourage them to decide how to handle the relics and films all the process, uploading an episode of these visits almost every day on the Internet. The artwork that the audience can see on the exhibition site is only the container, and the rest of the artwork including all of the video materials are deployed on the Internet. This project makes the audience imagine how the residents in Graz are facing and handling their past behind the beautiful architecture around the city that the audience would see in the video. The collecting box might be empty until the end. But Niwa tries to respond from the age of late 2010s regarding how to handle relics that have lost attention and have been forgotten in a private space, and also regarding relics that are the cross point where the official history and personal memories meet.
Series of video documentation(ongoing)
Day of 26 and 27 October 2020, Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, Düsseldorf
The artist Yoshinori Niwa has arrived in Düsseldorf and installed the black container at Ehrenhof. He offers local people to get rid of their unwanted NS relics until January 2021. The container stayed in the public space so that you can come anonymously and get rid of your unwanted relics at night.
Day of 281020_Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2020, Düsseldorf
Yoshinori Niwa is spreading the flyers offering to get rid of their unwanted NS relics and explaining the project to people near Graf-Adolf Platz, place known for former Adolf-Hitler Platz. The project reflects a part of German history that we should not forget. Many people turn to me to tell me their personal story, so I think it is very important to give these people a voice.
Day of 291020_Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2020, Düsseldorf
Yoshinori Niwa received many "Unlike" on his post about the container in Ehrehof and several private messages through FB after the press coverage of the exhibition "Empört Euch!" and his project "Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space" in major German news media. Some really hate my idea and some asked me not to destroy them, but donate them to the museum. He explains the idea behind the project.
Day of 301020_Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2020, Düsseldorf
Yoshinori Niwa opened the container and emptied it. A few relics and a message note from local people found in the container. All will be professionally shredded accordingly afterwards.
Day of 21120_Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2020, Düsseldorf
Yoshinori Niwa has received a message from a certain person who saw Niwa's advertisement on Düsseldorfer Anzeiger. He said that he has a uniform of great-grandfather that he doesn't want in his house, and he asked me for help. Niwa immediately offered him to help, but still haven't heard back from him. Due to the spread of the coronavirus for the last few days, Germany has decided to go into the 2nd lockdown. In spite of this difficult situation, Niwa is still waiting for his answer.
Day of 31120_Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2020, Düsseldorf
Yoshinori Niwa is still writing a reply message to the people at a cafe. And he is spreading more flyers. Some people imagine that it's still difficult to talk about NS era for the older generation. It is an exchange between the older generation and the younger one.
Day of 281120_Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2020, Düsseldorf
Someone left a message on the container of “Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space” at Ehrenhof, in from of the entrance of Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf. One written in Japanese, it means “Hey, you! Solve your country’s history first. I ask you to get rid of your stupid «art» soon.” Another one written in German, offers from a local stamp collection shop. Yoshinori Niwa responds to this message by giving some background on why he started the work.