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The Unknown Knight - art in public space - bronze sculptures, concrete-pedestals with texts, variable dimensions - 2011

The bronze sculptures are made by a direct mould of the artist's body. The armoury parts and sword are moulded by children toys from the museum shop of Zeughaus armoury museum. 

Graz as a -Bulwark against the (south-)east-, the Turks as a -historical- enemy repeated without thinking or deployed to specific ends, stereotypes such as these continue to influence attitudes even today. With the winning project of the international competition, Nasan Tur challenges collective memory. Starting from the Landeszeughaus, the Provincial Armoury, the German-Turkish artist confronts the existing myths that go to construct images of the enemy with the legend of the -Unknown Knight-, invented together with school- children in Graz. On postcards and in picture books, the aim is to carry tidings of the -Unknown Knight- out into the world and subsequently to encourage other legends. For his interventions in public space, Tur deliberately falls back on the traditional bronze monument, adding breaks in terms of form and content: the -Unknown Knight- the artist himself appears as an inadequately armoured, anti-heroic figure that fails to comply with common narratives. For all this, the project is not one that politically questions collective memory of Austria's past, nor does Nasan Tur address the topics of xenophobia and racism directly. However, by questioning the mechanisms and workings of collective memory, particularly the myth of the -enemy from the (south-)east-, in current society, he indirectly suggests that the politics of memory is not a process that belongs to the past, but rather a topic that concerns the present day not only in Graz and Austria, but also elsewhere.

Winning Project of the International Art Competition -Bollwerk gegen den Südosten?- Institut für Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Steiermark, Landeszeughaus - Universalmuseum Joanneum, CLIO-Verein für Geschichte, Graz.

Institut für Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Steiermark, 2011

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