M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E

analog photography techniques
2017 ongoing | various sizes | consult portfolio for details including contextualization

WOLFGANG HUBER LANG | M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E

“The exhibition title could not be more objective: M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E are the coordinates for Mauthausen. What interests Marko Zink is not documentation but irritation. He forces viewers to look carefully, opening up a multilayered debate. Using the medium of photography, he attempts to make a twofold disappearance visible: the extermination of people and the eradication of memory. It is an intensive engagement with a past that will not expire. The medium chosen by Marko Zink is analog photography. He manipulates the material before exposing it: He boils it or stamps it, treats it with chlorine or ink eraser. Using this delicate material, he photographs selected sites in and around the former concentration camp. Sometimes Zink’s works seem like found historical photos, taken quickly and in secret, bleached by the sun, half destroyed by the ravages of time. On a separate plane, the photos’ injuries seem to give an account of the atrocities that took place there less than eight decades ago. And sometimes they seem to make visible what seemingly cannot be seen anymore. With his work, however, Marko Zink reminds us that this is still possible: that which remembers the past, and that which warns against what is to come – we can see it all. If only we want to.

MARKO ZINK | M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E

“Mauthausen is synonymous with the Holocaust in Austria, stands for the most unspeakable, inhumane atrocities in the country’s history.

Mauthausen is an edifice, a memorial, a site, exposed on a hill, still hidden to the cursory glance, surrounded by fertile farmland and hunting stands.

Did you know that by now all the original shower heads of the former gas chamber are no longer there, that they have been secretly removed by visitors?

The Nazi regime swept away any democratic victory; nothing remained but hatred for people, for each individual that contradicted their racial ideology. Enemies were invented. The populace was manipulated and let itself be manipulated. The collective this created wiped out the self-determined individual. And this, in turn, relegated the ostensible “other” to an amorphous mass ready for extinction.

Did you know that each barracks (52 × 8 meters) “housed” an average of about 500 prisoners?

This system made us perpetrators. Both the (collective) attempt to explain—“we did not know”—and the claim that Austria itself was but a victim of Germany are still going strong today, but these reassuring stories do not actually provide reassurance as they have never been true.

Did you know that Mauthausen had a soccer field, located right next to the “quarantine camp,” and that not only SS officers but also nearby residents were invited to big soccer games while the concentration camp was in operation?

Did you know that shortly before the “liberation” thousands of dead bodies were interred on this soccer field as well as in the immediate surroundings at one of the area’s most prominent lookouts, the “Marbacher Linde,” without a single reference today to what happened there?

Did you know that these dead bodies were only exhumed as late as the 1960s and for years stored in coffins at a military base by the garage yard, directly in the former concentration camp, before the identified bodies could be flown to “their” country and interred there?

These questions lead to my multipart series of photographs. The works are complemented by titles that permit several approaches and perspectives: geodata, background information about the individual shots, titles borrowed from Theodor W. Adorno’s writings, and titles by Thomas Licek, the project director of the Month of Photography Vienna.”

FELICITAS HEIMANN JELINEK | Through The Lens Of Marko Zink

“The reality in Marko Zink’s photos is staged. It is the photographer’s reality—one into which he actively intervenes. As all the photos are analog, there is film stock. And the film stock was manipulated. Negatives were cooked, treated with acid or ink eraser, perforated, punched, glazed, or scratched. They were subsequently developed in various formats. The manipulated film stock led to manipulated photos. The photos show a reality that does not exist in this form. It is the work of the photographer.

The intentions behind this process are many: For one, the pictures suggest that they are historical photographs that are fading, in a state of disintegration as victims of time. They elicit a feeling of helplessness over the fact that the history of a concentration camp cannot even be grasped in its actual reality. They make painfully clear that the realities of life and suffering in Mauthausen become less and less traceable—also in light of the gradually diminishing number of firsthand witnesses—so that we cannot imagine being “exposed . . . to so much suffering,” as the former prisoner Pablo Escribano put it. Beyond the fear of losing the witnesses’ reality, the emotional impact emanating from the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp is heightened by the traces of chemical manipulation. This is possible in artistic photographs that deal with the subject of the Shoah. They may withdraw from discussions about the adequate examination of historical source materials as they transform their subject. Additionally, the photos challenge the viewers as they question their competence to see and interpret. When the viewers engage with the works, they are forced to deal with the place.

(…)

The approach of Marko Zink’s photos—and I deliberately do not call them a “photo series,” as they lack any serial character—is utterly novel. It is an approach that defies all ritualized forms of remembrance of the Nazi regime and the Shoah. The more ritualized the commemoration—be it in educational mass events or during politically decreed festivities—the more questionable the gain. Official commemoration rituals are formulaic and lifeless realities that Marko Zink challenges with his reality.”

MARIJA NUJIC | Of Adorno And Zink

“This is where we might compare Zink’s works Authoritarian Structures_1 and _2. _1 is an analog photograph whose negative was also boiled in the darkroom before exposure to achieve a nostalgic color effect. While the triangle refers symbolically to the prisoners, the colors red-white-red point to both the concentration camp as the scene of the crime and to nationalist ideas. With these elements, Zink addresses the myth of Austria’s stylization as a victim of Nazi Germany. By wanting to “avoid confronting the horror”—one is tempted to call it whitewashing—the perpetrator becomes culpable, an extenuated follower.

Authoritarian Structures_2 complements this photograph as a spatial installation. Now the balloons on an upside-down triangle of the wood structure are burst; they’ve gone flat and droopy. Upon entering the exhibition space, one notices that the two works correspond with each other. Zink here plays with the perspectives. The photograph is significantly smaller and seems to creep up on the installation from behind. Together, the two pieces form an hourglass of sorts: The impression conveyed is that the hourglass has just been turned and the sand begun to trickle down again into the lower bulb as if history were to repeat itself inexorably.

In almost all the photographs, Zink forces the perpetrator’s perspective on the viewers. This becomes especially visible in his works Repetition_2 to _3. For these two images, the negative was boiled before exposure, perforated with a hole puncher, and punctured with pins. These punctures seem like bullet holes shot from a hunting stand at some distance. The change of perspective and location creates a movement reminiscent of a frantic chase or hunt. The viewers’ confrontation with the perpetrator, which is to say one’s own possible self, is a reference to the Mühlviertler Hasenjagd, in which, frighteningly, even members of the civilian population participated. Would you also have grabbed a gun?

As Adorno correctly describes, the “the authoritarian potential even now is much stronger than one thinks.” If one looks at the current political developments, the countless “one-off incidents” or the hate postings on social media, it seems all the more important to keep past events present in our minds so that their memory never fades. Zink’s photographs Obliteration_1 and _2 recall panorama postcards from the 1970s, relics of a distant past. In this case, too, the negatives were boiled and subsequently manipulated with ink eraser and acid. From a watchman’s standpoint, one overlooks the roll-call area. While people can be seen in _2, one’s eye wanders across a vacant ghost town in _1. The witnesses will soon pass away; they will no longer be able to tell their stories. What will remain after the obliteration of memory?”

FELICITAS THUN HOHENSTEIN | Active Images

“Therefore, M 48° 15′ 24.13″ N, 14° 30′ 6.31″ E is a performative, multilayered artistic sphere of action which puts into practice what it addresses: It is very touching—it touches our idea of the unrepresentable in the sense of what Susan Sontag meant by the phrase “against photography.” A liminal space opens up, which negotiates the political potential of aesthetics as it does the trinity of memory, commemoration, and forgetting as well as the success and failure to which they are connected. First and foremost, however, Marko Zink’s mapping of the Mauthausen Memorial is an urgent reminder against forgetting.”

CHRISTIAN DÜRR | It’s Just A Picture Of A Picture Tossed And Torn Away

“Historical exhibitions, much like Marko Zink’s photographs, are about making the absent past cognitively traceable and emotionally perceptible by way of different objects in the present. Earlier exhibitions that dealt with the Nazi mass atrocities often relied on showing their effects as drastically and explicitly as possible. Photographs and other exhibits were dramatized in this context as “objects of abundance” and as images of historical reality that “showed everything” there was to show as vividly as possible. Yet their intended “deterrent” effect often had an unwanted side effect: Instead of allowing a familiarization with the past, their ostensible directness created a distance. To make what is depicted tolerable, it was relegated to a space that was philosophically and emotionally separate from one’s own day-to-day reality.
Therefore, the most haunting items on display in the permanent exhibition at the Mauthausen memorial site are not the ones that show something ostensibly immediate, but those that evoke stories that, though they may be linked to their visible materiality, point to other reference systems nonetheless. These are stories that reach into the present. Thus, the uniform jacket of a female survivor is a mass-produced and therefore essentially easily replaceable object. The fact that until a few years ago this jacket hung in some closet somewhere, mingling with all the other everyday clothes of its owner and was therefore on par with them, points to a much deeper meaning than its superficial material appearance lets on. The prison jacket as a condensation of traces thus transforms from a historicized object into a historical object.
The tension of closeness and distance, trace and aura, is not the only parallel between Zink’s works and the work of memorial sites. One of his black-and-white photographs shows a landscape with fields and trees. By manipulating the film stock, a black cloud appears above them, as if the landscape’s aura was made visible. A second photo shows the same frame slightly askew, so that a wooden cross is discernible in the lower left corner. The cross marks the spot where, during the time the camp was in operation, the ashes of bodies burned in the crematory were collected. Taken together, the two photos resemble a picture puzzle: “Spot the disruption in the landscape.” The Mauthausen memorial as a whole is one such disruption in the Austrian landscape, one that puts a very different spin on the concept of “homeland.””

GUDRUN BLOHBERGER | We Slowly Inch Our Way Forward …

“Outrage is what Marko Zink articulated when, a few months before the exhibition opening at the Mauthausen Memorial, he explored the “Marbacher Linde”: This prominently visible tree not far from the former concentration camp was where a mass grave was created at the time, which was subsequently exhumed in the years after the war. The mortal remains of thousands of people were reinterred at the Memorial grounds. To this day the “Marbacher Linde” remains a popular lookout—but there is not a single mention of the place’s history.
A field lightly covered in snow, an earthy plane of about 2 by 1 meters, a shovel stuck in the ground, a vast landscape—far in the distant background, one can make out the preserved buildings of the former concentration camp. This photo was sparked by the artist’s outrage; it is irritating and may provoke some viewers’ indignation. And it is powerful enough to initiate contemplation about how little time has passed since the long-distant past.”

GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY

Future Fond Of The Republic Of Austria | Cultural Departement Of Vorarlberg | Cultural Departement Of Vienna | Cultural Departement Of Upper Austria | Federal Chancellery Of Austria | Otto Mauer Funds | National Fund | Bildrecht | Mauthausen Memorial | Michaela Stock Gallery

EXHIBITION | Michaela Stock Gallery | 2019

EXHIBITION PHOTOGRAPHY | Matthias Bildstein

EXHIBITION | Mauthausen Memorial| 2019 – 2020

EXHIBITION VIDEO | Mauthausen Memorial

EXHIBITION | Bildraum 07 Gallery | 2021

EXHIBITION VIDEO | goes : art | Channel TV | Jesus Rivero