Annette Kelm “Die Bücher”
Annette Kelm, Die Bücher, 2020, Installation view, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden. Photo by Thomas Bruns.


Fondazione ICA
Via Orobia, 26, 20139 Milano MI


16 Sep 2022 - 15 Oct 2022



Annette Kelm “Die Bücher”

The main focus of the exhibition project is the representation of the book, meant as an object able to transcend its mere role of narrative tool in order to become a living metaphor. In Annette Kelm’s work, the book becomes a fragment of a specific historical time and a vessel for a powerful reflection, articulated around the weight of the past and the impact it has on the present.

The exhibition is organized around an itinerary of photographic images, a selection of shots carefully designed by the artist to picture a sadly well-known chapter in the history of the 20th century. Each of the 104 photographs set up on the first floor of the Foundation depicts one of the volumes that had been banned by the National Socialists in 1933, when a group of students set more than 30,000 books on fire in Berlin’s Obernplatz. The burning, which marked the starting point of the gradual public opinion alignment with the political party that had inspired it, also marked the beginning of persecutions of writers and intellectuals who were against those political ideals.