(Bratislava, former Czechoslovakia, 1938)
Body Missing (detail)
1994 and ongoing
Six-channel video-photo-web installation
© Vera Frenkel / CARCC (2018)
Photo: Matt Smith. Partial view of six-channel video-photo-web installation in one of the three chambers where were stored the stolen artworks during World War II, salt mine, Altaussee, 2017
Body Missing is a multimedia installation, the core of a project begun by Vera Frenkel in 1994. Using a semi-fictional narrative as a framework, the artist presents an inquiry into the Nazi plunder of thousands of artworks for display in the museum Adolf Hitler planned to build in Linz, Austria. The installation is an assemblage of archival material (letters, interviews, film clips, photographs), photomontages and snatches of conversation reported by bartenders from the participative installation …from the Transit Bar, created by Frenkel in 1992. Body Missing has also taken the form of a collaborative website, active since 1996. In the fall of 2017, the installation was exhibited 700 metres below ground, in the salt mines near the Austrian town of Altaussee that had housed the artworks stolen by the Nazis.
Vera Frenkel is a Czech-born multidisciplinary artist. She was a few months old when her family fled their homeland to arrive in London on the eve of World War II, and she was eleven years old when they finally settled in Montréal. This experience and the immigrant’s point of view she has adopted colour her artistic practice, in which video plays a preponderant role. Frenkel blurs the boundaries of fiction and reality, often reflecting on linguistic, identity and technological issues related to communication. Body Missing is one of her most emblematic works.