Melting stone, Flossenbürg Concentration Camp memorial, 2022
Melting stone is a site-specific installation that proposes an approach to historical specificity told through materiality and abstraction. Located in a disused building that once housed the former offices of the Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerk, the SS-owned company who operated the adjacent granite quarry, the exhibition takes as its starting point the geological-historical meanings of the stone, as a medium with which to interrogate memorial cultures, in conversation with material and geological processes. Once flowing as lava 30 km underground, Flossenbürg granite was pushed toward the surface by continental shifts. Over millions of years, layers of earth eroded, causing the lava to cool and crystallise into what is now exposed as solidified matter in the form of granite.
A series of sculptures titled, “Melting Stone”, experiments with heating the stones to the point at which they begin to melt; the lifecycle of the stone is revealed. The solid material of stone, commonly put to work in service of mourning and memorialisation, is inverted into a fluid substance, one that can be imaginatively imbued with the latent potentiality of lava in the depths of the earth.
Glass is created when quarz (a mineral that makes up 36% of Flossenbürg granite) is heated at high temperatures until it becomes a fluid substance. As it cools, it solidifies, but never stops being a liquid on a molecular level.
A second component, “Sanding Glass”, a large-scale glass screen is installed in front of a mural spanning 14 m long and 2,5 m high on the walls of the former “Gefolgschaftssaal” of the Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerk building. Nazi ideology is depicted by strong stone-workers and builders, painted in fascist-realist style. In the decades since the camp’s liberation, the faces of the figures were intentionally removed, and all over, the paint has chipped and peeled away. Those parts of the painting that have not been rubbed off, chipped or decayed are sanded and etched, to become opaque. When standing directly in front of the installation, only those parts of the wall that have already become obscured by time or by human intervention will be visible through clear glass. Thus a new drawing emerges through scratching at the surface of visual conventions; one that shifts the view to the contents of a history told through its absences.