logo the missing image
In a temporary installation Ruth Beckermann re-contextualizes Alfred Hrdlicka’s 1988 monument “Memorial against War and Fascism”.

The installation THE MISSING IMAGE relates to the bronze figure of a bearded man lying down with a brush in his hand, depicting the Jews cleaning the streets during the pogrom after the “Anschluss” in March 1938. Ruth Beckermann completes the scene by adding the missing images, those of laughing spectators, recently found in film archives. The Jews had to wash the symbols and slogans of the austro-fascist regime from the sidewalk using brushes and sometimes even toothbrushes. This was the brain child of Viennese anti-Semites and imposed exclusively in Vienna and some other Austrian cities.

The film clip recently discovered at the Austrian Film Museum, is to date the only known one of such an action. Ruth Beckermann has created a loop using the 11-second clip. It tells the Viennese story wherein all the bystanders are laughing at the two well-dressed Jews kneeling and cleaning the pavement. A Nazi soldier holds the broom of a young Jewish woman into the camera. The bystanders have fun. They enjoy the feeling of power, looking down on those that have to crawl on the ground.

By incorporating the film clip into the memorial, three different forms of expression come together. The bronze figure of the victim, a two-channel-installation of the perpetrators projected on LED-screens and today’s pedestrians shown in contrast to their historical counterparts.

“ I am not in favor of taking down this or any other compromised monument. Karl Lueger & Co. belong to the history of this city. It is up to the present citizens, to put in new perspective the then beloved anti-Semites, whether it be in an exploratory or provocative manner. In this sense, my installation THE MISSING IMAGE is an intervention. It depicts the repetitive mechanism of exclusion: those who are forced to their knees are dirty. Those who are lying on the floor can be looked down upon."
Ruth Beckermann


The Missing Image
An installation by Ruth Beckermann

March 12 – November 10, 2015
Albertinaplatz, 1010 Vienna


Olga Neuwirth

Picture editing

Klaus Pamminger

Production management, Press

Milli Segal


Philipp Diettrich

Technical realization



Ruth Beckermann/Walter Studener

Construction company

Firma Bruckschwaiger


Althaler + Oblasser

The historical footage was provided by the Austrian Film Museum.

The project is sponsored by:

Weblink: http://www.filmfonds-wien.at Weblink: http://www.koer.or.at Weblink: http://www.bka.at
Weblink: http://www.wien.gv.at/kultur/abteilung/ Weblink: http://www.zukunftsfonds-austria.at Weblink: http://www.nationalfonds.org