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Video Installation, Winner of the DAGESH Art Award 2023

Artist Maya Schweizer won this year’s DAGESH Art Award for her video installation Sans histoire. The prize is awarded by the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) and DAGESH: Jewish Art in Context. In her artwork, Schweizer engages with the Jewish Museum Berlin as a site of ritualized remembrance.


Reflecting on the award’s question “What Now? From Dystopias to Utopias,” her answer is open—sans histoire: both without history and without story.

In Sans histoire, the film created specially for this project, Maya Schweizer follows through her thought experiment on a consciousness without history. She delves into fears and hopes of impermanence, regarding both the museum itself as an immediate location and larger societal processes. What happens when memory fades in the face of historical upheavals, climate catastrophe, and ultimately the finitude of human existence? Does the past still impact upon the future? Does digital storage delay or hasten an incipient collective amnesia? Alternating between impulses of threat and liberation, the artist explores transhuman and posthuman scenarios.

Maya Schweizer’s experimental and cinematic works often negotiate questions of history and memory cultures, asking how their interaction influences our collective and individual experience today. Alongside her prize-winning installation, the exhibition presents three more of Schweizer’s experimental video works from the period between 2012 and 2020. In the four works, the artist weaves together fragments of memory and strands of forgetting. Texts, sounds, and images give rise to streams of thought that cannot be combined into narratives. Through the symbol of water, which recurs in the individual works and unites them, the exhibition probes the individual and collective memory.

Maya Schweizer was born in Paris in 1976 and studied art and art history in Aix-en-Provence, at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB), and at the Berlin University of the Arts (HdK), where she graduated as a master student of Lothar Baumgarten in 2007. Her works have been shown internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions.

The DAGESH Art Award and the exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin are made possible by the support of the Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin.
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