"Consciousness has internalized and submerged the sensation of the bold summer colours of that immense space; of the cerulean skies, the aeroplanes – and of the boy gazing at them and forgetting everything around him. There is almost no return to that Metropolis, with its sombre colours, with the sense of the immutable law that encloses all its beings within confines of allotted time and of death; that is, there is almost no sense of a return to that world without a sense of return to those wonderful colours, to that tranquil, magical and beckoning experience of those blue skies of the summer of 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau."
from: Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death - Otto Dov Kulka;
Published by Allen Lane, ISBN 978-1-84614-683-1; p76.
"Heavens" is a long-term work in progress. It is a book & installation project, in which I personally try to make sense of the Holocaust during the second World War. I attempt to understand and show my feelings about and vision on the massive suffering that has happened... and hopefully, in a tiny way, help to never forget.
At this moment, I'm visiting every known Nazi camp and sub camp (following the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) and I make a polaroid image of the blue sky exactly above each location. There were 1,075 camps. A blue sky, as in 'that heaven above', and nothing else. A clear view on 1,075 heavens, sober and blue, yet burdened with holding the memory of the ones who suffered below.
Standing on the same places as the victims, and looking up at the same sky that they must have seen. With this work, I wish to touch the concept of heaven and how it can exist, knowing that something clamant as the Holocaust has happened.
Alongside the installation showing grids of all 1,075 polaroids, and a video projection, a book with 1.075 images of heaven will be published, in a limited edition of 1.075 numbered copies.
I want to make this book because I've always wished there existed already such a book, because I've always wanted to buy such a book and give it a place between all the other books I own, as a reminder, to carry it along with me in my life, as a weight of history that we all, just maybe, should be carrying on our shoulders.
Every time I set out on a trip to document another set of Heavens, I'll document it on the blog too. You can follow the online account of the progress of me continually creating HEAVENS here: antonkusters.com/blog/?category=heavens
The creation of the installation and the book is slowly becoming a reality. In the meantime I talk about the installation concept evolving, the idea for the book taking shape, and I'll also try to show images and make them available in little batches or stories, like this one: Meet Gaston, my late grandfather. Watch this space to stay informed about the work: antonkusters.com/things/?category=heavens
A preview exhibit of the project installation (only containing the heavens above Auschwitz) was presented in Liège (Belgium) in Monos Art Gallery. antonkusters.com/appearances/?category=heavens
Heavens is supported by STROOM Limburg.