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Terugblik

Two channel video installation, sound composition and a reproduction of a historical photograph, 2022

‘Terugblik’ (Retrospect) revolves around a public sculpture carrying that name, placed in the Amstel station in Amsterdam in 1939 and standing there ever since. The starting point of the project is a box containing 250 unseen photographs taken in 1941-1942 that was discovered during renovation works at an Amsterdam attic in 2010. The photographs, depicting arrests of Jewish inhabitants of Amsterdam, inspections and raids on Jewish stores, and the romoval of street signs carrying Jewish names, were taken by the photographer Bart de Kok, member of the National Socialist Party in the Netherlands who was commissioned to document these steps carried by the Dutch authorities.

One of the photographs shows a crowd of Jews who were gathered at the Amstel station and would imminently be transported to the labor camp Molengoot and from there to concentration camps in Poland. Still in the Amstel station, they are standing around a sculpture of a naked women. Her empty and bored stare sweeps across her surroundings indifferently – it’s Terugblik.

Outlining the disinterest of the stone witness, the work consists of two video channels depicting the empty look of Terugblik against hundreds of moments that she had to observe since the day she was placed in the Amstel station, accompanied by an unearthly sound composition and a reproduction of the photograph by Bart de Kok from 1942 in which Terugblik is seen observing the Jewish Amsterdammers as they are being deported.

The archive images courtesy of the Stadsarchief Amsterdam / Amsterdam City Archives.

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© 2022 Itamar Gov