Silke Schönfeld, invented traditions / imagined communities

invented traditions / imagined communities is Silke Schönfeld’s first solo exhibition in Cologne. Schönfeld presents two video works dealing with the nature of the German political its cultural landscape. The artist’s attention to traditions and their re-enactments allows both a view of the nuances of cultural and political appropriation and a differentiated analysis of the development of identity politics in Oybin, Saxony.


At Ebertplatz
7 March – 24 April 2020
Opening: Friday 6 March 2020, 7 PM

17 March – 24 May 2020


Mönchszüge – invented traditions (part two)
2019, Full HD, 21:53 min.

The short documentary introduces two members of a non-profit association, which organizes a choir procession in a small town near the Zittauer Mountains in the German province of Saxony. The singers are dressed up as monks and wear torches in order to keep the memory of a 16th-century monastic order alive. The tradition was invented in Oybin in 1851. The processions took place even when regimes in power were rather hostile towards religion, as in the case of the Nazi Regime or the communist East German Regime (GBR). The picturesque imagery of the monk procession raises questions about narratives of national identity against the historical and current backdrop of populist right-wing influences. Fragments of family stories entangle with German collective memory not to avoid personal responsibility.


Ein Prozent – imagined communities
2019, Full HD, 7:41 min.

“Ein Prozent für unser Land” [One percent for our country] is a self-appointed citizen‘s initiative that organizes protest campaigns against Germany‘s migration politics. The members of this non-profit association have alliances with the far right and the populist right-wing party AfD. The association was founded in Oybin in 2015. It produces emotionalized propaganda videos of their actions that aim to influence a general public. The artist visited different sites throughout Eastern Germany where the association’s protest campaigns already took place and the propaganda videos were shot. The imagery in her film is calm and unspectacular, only accompanied by ambient sound. Textual information, designed like lexical definitions, provide insight into what has happened in the respective places.


Curated by Agustina Andreoletti and Dawid Liftinger.
Thanks to Lilian Haberer, Friedrich Böll, Axel Autschbach, Tommy Scheer.
Supported by the Cultural Office of the City of Cologne.


SILKE SCHÖNFELD, *1988 Idar-Oberstein
2020 Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam (Artist residency) 2019 73. International Bergischer Art Prize, Solingen
2018 Akademiebrief Prof. Marcel Odenbach, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
Meisterschülerin Prof. Aernout Mik, Kunstakademie Münster
Lives and works in Amsterdam and Dortmund

Photos: Tommy Scheer