Tell me about yesterday tomorrow

Nov. 28, 2019 until Oct. 18, 2020

In its new exhibition, Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism shows contemporary works of art from 46 international artists. At the center of the works is an examination of the interpretation of the past and its connection to our present. The location of the exhibition – the works of art are shown in the permanent exhibition and throughout the building – opens up a dialog between contemporary art and the remembrance work presented by the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism. Tell me about yesterday tomorrow expands the examination of German history with international perspectives, opens one’s view to global realities of life, and tells of the past and the future in multifaceted images. “It is about the relationship between the past and the future. What new forms of access to history are needed when the realities of life in contemporary society are increasingly decoupled from what happened in the past,” is how artistic director Nicolaus Schafhausen sums up the intention of the exhibition.

The artists from different generations dedicate themselves to numerous topics: the resurgence of nationalism, racism, or antisemitism; the violent exploitation of humans and nature; the cultural and political impact of war, oppression, and trauma; and how national myths are depicted. The selection includes 18 new works from the past thirty years as well as works of art from the first half of the 20th century. The spectrum of media used ranges from painting, drawing, and photography to installation, video, and performance.

With this exhibition, both the Munich Documentation Centre and the curator Nicolaus Schafhausen are breaking new ground at the interface of art and history. The close cooperation between the two disciplines has not resulted in a closed, linear discourse, but in a complex picture of past and present realities. The exhibition does not aim at completeness, but at polyphony, where space is deliberately left open to introduce further narratives and interpretations. In contrast to the chronological, knowledge-based permanent exhibition Munich and National Socialism, Tell me about yesterday tomorrow offers space for individual access and appropriation. With aesthetic means, spaces of thought and discussion are opened that question our feelings, our convictions, our habits, and our actions.

According to Mirjam Zadoff, Director of the Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, “Against this backdrop and given the urgency of the situation, Tell me about yesterday tomorrow is breaking new ground. This exhibition is – from the first consideration on – an unusual project that leads us to the boundaries between science, art, and society and calls for a dialog between these different worlds, for activism beyond the comfort zone of one’s own expertise.”

Tell me about yesterday tomorrow is more than just an exhibition. The project also includes an assembly and a publication to be implemented in 2020. A program of events consisting of tours, talks, readings, and lectures will also flank the project. The project “Tell me about yesterday tomorrow” is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

Artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Heba Y. Amin, Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Michal BarOr, Cana Bilir-Meier, Ayzit Bostan, Mohamed Bourouissa, Andrea Büttner, Keren Cytter, Brenda Draney, Loretta Fahrenholz, Sirah Foighel Brutmann & Eitan Efrat, Aslan Ġoisum, Ydessa Hendeles, Arthur Jafa, Sebastian Jung, Brian Jungen, Leon Kahane, Annette Kelm, Baseera Khan, Ken Lum, Paweł Kowalewski, Else Lasker-Schüler, Jumana Manna, Paula Markert, Michaela Meise, Michaela Melián, Kent Monkman, Artur (Stefan) Nacht-Samborski, Olaf Nicolai, Emil Nolde, Marcel Odenbach, Emeka Ogboh, Trevor Paglen, Harald Pickert, Joanna Piotrowska, Jon Rafman, Willem de Rooij, Cemile Sahin, Mira Schendel, Gregor Schneider, Hito Steyerl, Diamond Stingily, Rosemarie Trockel, Želimir Žilnik