Marcel Odenbach. In silent ponds lurk crocodiles
Video installation 2002/2004. WerkRaum 19

23.03.2006 to 11.06.2006

Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart
Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart

The video installation "In silent ponds lurk crocodiles" in the WerkRaum of the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin introduces a central new work by Marcel Odenbach. The artist describes his 31-minute double projection as "a subjective documentation about a drama in seven chapters". The title refers to an African proverb and underlines the tense and eerie mood that characterizes the work. It focusses on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in which, during the months of April to June, more than 800,000 Tutsi were killed.

The origin of the work lies with the picture and document material about the genocide which Odenbach came upon during his work at the UNO film archive in New York in 1995. "In silent ponds lurk crocodiles" not only describes the genocide but also the psychological repercussions in a country facing the difficult task of simultaneously having to sentence murderers and reconcile different groups of the population. Incited by the propaganda of the "Hutu Power Movement", especially through the radio, simple people, farmers and small-town residents, became murderers of their neighbours.

Marcel Odenbach, whose art deals with German history, detects parallels arising from the living together of victims and perpetrators. The video installation offers no clues towards evaluation nor explanations. Supported by a very differenciated and complex sound collage, the viewer is deeply implicated emotionally as an observer of events.