zwei TV-Geräte auf einem Sockel
© Schenkung Sammlung Hoffmann, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Courtesy Nachlass / Estate Jimmie Durham & Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin

Blickwechsel. Jimmie Durham und das immaterielle Kulturgut im Museum für Sächsische Volkskunst

Alternating between two screens, Songs of My Childhood shows recordings in which Jimmie Durham (1940–2021), who self-identified as a native North American, sings fragments of songs from memory, sometimes unaccompanied and other times supported by a harmonica. In part because the older artist gazes into the camera and thus at us as we watch him, this act of reflection feels wistful and intimate. It seems to be not only a meditation on formative cultural experiences, but on an entire life. Durham, who identified as Cherokee, divides the songs of his childhood into those he wishes to get rid of and those he would like to keep.

  • DATES 01/04/2022—23/10/2022

Seine Kriterien

It is possible to intuit the criteria for his categorization; those which are to be forgotten are, for example, about war, religion and violence, while those he is fond of tend to be folksongs and love songs. In the artist’s words: “There’s something about music that really is ours, that is human […] You can’t very well monumentalize singing. You can’t divorce it from people.” In a very personal and quiet manner, the work, which was created as a commissioned edition for the Barbara Wien gallery, elucidates how a cultural canon is formed and how it shapes identities individually and collectively. In the same gesture, it also poses the question that is essential for the self-understanding of the Museum für Sächsische Volkskunst: the question of the significance and the preservation of intangible cultural assets, with a view to the past but also to the present and the future.

Gitarre liegend
© Museum für Sächsische Volkskunst, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Ignaz Mettal, Gitarre des erzgebirgischen Volksdichters und Sängers Anton Günther Schönbach (Böhmen), um 1900

Als Prolog

And one might furthermore ask: Whose culture is being tended to and preserved? As a prologue to the diverse collection areas presented in the Jägerhof, the contemporary work shows how the museum with each object it chooses to preserve decides against many others, which disappear and fall into oblivion along with their cultural context. This is to say that it is not only in the video installation that keeping and forgetting are two sides of a coin.


zwei TV-Geräte auf einem Sockel
© Schenkung Sammlung Hoffmann, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Courtesy Nachlass / Estate Jimmie Durham & Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin
Jimmie Durham, Songs of My Childhood, Part One: Songs to Get Rid Of, Part Two: Songs to Keep, 2014

Die Familie Hoffmann

In March 2018, the Hoffmann family donated their extensive collection of contemporary art, comprising some 1,200 works, to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. A goal for the donated works is to have them enter a dialogue with objects from the various museums of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, thereby opening up different perspectives and levels of meaning for both the contemporary and the historical exhibits.


Further Exhibitions
03/06/2022 —25/09/2022
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in Jägerhof

Marionette, die auf einer Kiste sitzt
30/04/2022 —27/07/2022
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Electoral Wardrobe

in Residenzschloss

Aufwendig besticktes und verziertes Kleid im Seitenprofil.
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