An Elderberry Place

08.07.2020 - 14.08.2020

“The cured wound opens
inwards to a dark
elderberry place.”
                                                                                      – Seamus Heaney

More than 14 million years ago, a meteorite struck the earth in what is now Southern
Germany, tearing open a crater whose remains are still visible today. In the moment the
meteorite hit the ground, a unique mineral, Moldavite, was created out of the melting rock,
thrown upwards and scattered in the South of the Czech Republic, across an area several
hundred kilometres to the East of the impact site. An elderberry place is a continuation of my
work about my family’s history between Germany and the Czech Republic. My father’s
father, who died when my father was a boy, came from Schönfelden (Osí) in the Czech
border region of Bohemia, which the German population was forced to leave in 1946. My
grandfather was subsequently resettled in a German village that happened to be located
within the aforementioned meteorite’s crater, a coincidence that unknowingly bound him to
the home he had left behind.

This body of work initially developed out of the Czech-Jewish legend of the Golem, a gigantic
servant formed out of mud and spring water. The creature turned violent when slipping out of
the control of its creator, a powerful presence hurtling through the world, as destructive as a
meteorite. Examining the instability of the earth’s surface as skin and body, this project
follows the trajectory of a meteorite as a central object of fascination, assembling a fictional
framework out of landscapes and souvenirs hinged around the connection between two
disparate histories. The meteorite itself evaporated as it hit the ground, so the focus of the
work lies on finding other ways to depict this missing meteorite in the context of my family's
association with it. The force of the collision wounded the landscape and catapulted the
fragments of Moldavite, a very rare glass-like substance, to the Czech regions of Bohemia
and Moravia only, where it is widely displayed in museums and sold as jewellery.

Through a variety of gathered images and objects, I retrace the journey of these particles
from the town where my grandfather lived after his eviction, located at the crater’s edge, back
to his ruined hometown in Bohemia. From the deeply intimate to the pre-human, I follow the
meteorite as another living body, charting the continuing influence of that which is absent or
missing but whose repercussions can still be felt. The random and often unstable nature of
geographical borders is posed against the slow and inevitable disappearance of the body –
the dissolution of the borders of both countries and skins – the material of once separate
bodies blending into one as they turn to dust, referencing ideas around burial, death,
violence, and the remnant. Recurring imagery places notions of the human body in healing
against the aforementioned fragile surfaces and grounds, while referring also to the waters of
the river Vltava (Moldau), from the clay of which the Golem was formed, and after which the