Der Berg ruft zurück!

Lukas Weithas

Der Berg ruft zurück! was an initiative against the political right-wing nationalist appropriation of Alpine cultural environments, its traditions and symbolism. These ideologies, which propagate domestic narratives about a romanticized nature as well as myths of national origin, were opposed by manifold artistic contributions to discuss alternative approaches to alpine cultural landscapes in an urban environment.

The first images of the Alps were created in the early 19th century. Back then, the Alps were still portrayed as romantic, inaccessible and imposing structures, expressing human vulnerability and devotion in relation to the forces of nature. With the urge to climb and conquer, the infrastructure in the Alps increasingly expanded: even remote places became accessible and more and more people were able to experience them. During World War II, the Alpine region also turned into a propaganda symbol of a regime that appropriated the mountain world and its cultural heritage, and linked it specifically to an ideological idea to create national myths.

With 28.7% Austria holds the largest part of the Alps in proportion to the country’s territory. The Alpine landscape and its cultural heritage have turned out to be constitutive elements of Austria's national self-portrayal and self-description. Unfortunately, many cultural qualities and aesthetics from the cornflower to traditional costumes were and are still occupied by right-wing nationalist ideologies. It is alarming that today’s nationalist revivals, ranging from political parties to pop culture with stars like Andreas Gabalier, promote the abuse of landscape and culture – called upon to create a national(ist), "ethnic" identity. Thus, the cultural heritage is not only given a brown coat of paint; to a certain extent society is also deprived of its cultural heritage – the Alps – as a common good.

Exhibition and Symposium at Hinterland Galerie
23.03.2019 with Freundliche Mitte
Anton Sutterlüty
Jelena Moser
Benjamin Stillhart
Markus Weithas
Sebastian Lehner
Alpkvlt Initiative and programme by Lukas Weithas