05. Jänner 2001
The Thousand Year Reich

Nazi Germany - or Aryan Germany - predicted that its empire would last for a thousand years, meaning, in terms of human history, forever. Hitler's Reich had a much shorter shelf life, but tyranny with all its brutality and excesses including genocide existed long before National Socialism and continues unstoppable until today and into the future.

This pleasure of survival and immortality is the ultimate thrill of power from "barbaric" human sacrifices via Hitler's and Stalin's killing machines to the machete massacres in Rwanda.

This exhibition of works by five 20th century artitst is not jus about atrocities but also about this pleasure of power. It is about the short period from 1940 to today but the images shown could apply to any tyranny at any point of history.

"In the past, the represantation of the human being eas of secondary importance in my paintings. The events followig the disintegration of Yugoslavia and especially the confrontation with the destinies of the victims of war brought and end to my detachment and indifference. My preoccupation and confrontation with the tragic events evoked within me a profound sadness and the wish to make a cmmitment to commemorate the suffering of these people in my paintings, to preserve their dignity,to show their pain, despair, courage and need, and thereby to awaken a feeling of responsibility in all people.

I remember the events I witnessed or was forced to witness, from Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany to Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda and - we would not have believed it possible only a few years ago - in Europe in the 1990s, characterised by the planned murders and rapes in the course of the conflict arising from the disintegration of Yugoslavia.


Complacency is not an option - commitment is. We must act, without overestimating what an individual can do, but knowing that the evergrowing numbers of people who openly declare theit opposition to crimes against humanity are the best guarantee for politics based on ethical principles.

My paintings are intended as a contribution to these efforts"

-Hermann Pedit

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