#lostchildhood, now open….

At the McKee Gallery [NSAS] within the Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu 208 Bridge St, Nelson.
Open every day 9:30 – 4:30pm.
Until June 25.


Ann Braunsteiner is an Austrian-born artist living in New Zealand.
Her paintings, photographs and installation pieces are often drawing on her experience of an upbringing by adoptive parents who were closer in age to the grandparents of her contemporaries. This resulted in Ann identifying with the post-war Austrian psyche in the manner of artists such as Gottfried Helnwein, Anselm Kiefer and Arnulf Rainer. Ann use’s Sigrid Weigel’s concept of ‘telescopage’ to describe relationships between generations after a traumatic incident.
‘[…] The past – the pain of the victims, as the guilt of the perpetrators – can’t be named or isn’t talked about, therefore it imprints into the unconscious of the next generation and subsequent generations as a disturbing existence. […]’. [1]
While #lostchildhood is an autobiographic platform, Ann is acknowledging and questioning the broader collective cultural trauma.
“#” (hashtag), has become the predominant online tag or marker for trending words and phrases. The use of such tags collectively after traumatic incidents such as #jesuischarlie, following the Paris attack on the cartoonist magazine, and #orlandopride after the US Orlando attack, shows humanity dealing with trauma in new ways. #bringourgirlsback in response to the kidnapping of Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria served as a call for action as well as sharing in grief.
This tagging of online content could be thought of in terms of an extended book of memorial, where those who feel the urge to say something in response, tag it as such and therefore become part of the public record. This model of grieving appears to be organic in conception and user driven. Maybe given the wider scope of today’s internet, reducing cultural and geographical boundaries, trauma is more widely shared and therefore assimilated. Or will we become desensitized to trauma through overexposure resulting in the sensation I feel nothing/fine?’

[1] S. Weigel, The Symptomatology of a Universalised Concept of Trauma: On the Failing of Freud’s Reading of Tasso in the Trauma of History, in: Taboo, Trauma, Holocaust. New German Critique Nr.90, 2003, S. 85-94.