The White Elephant Archive

Performance Series (2012-2015)

The White Elephant Archive is a series of art projects based on an archive that was founded by my grandmother.

The project versions are consecutively numbered:
Setting No. 1 (2012),
Setting No. 2 (2013) and
Setting No. 3 (2015).
In his performance “The White Elephant Archive, Setting No. 3” Eduard Freudmann traces stories from a family archive founded in 1979 by his grandmother. He links contents of the archive with historical events and current political issues by means of documentary and object theatre. Against a background of the increasing absence of contemporary witnesses, Freudmann brings documents and objects as protagonists on the stage in order to consult them about the eternal dilemma of whether to speak or to be silent about the Shoah.
When my grandmother passed away my uncle took all the items, put them in a cardboard box and stored them in his attic. I, myself, had been obsessed with my family history for a long time. And, in 2004, I began working on an art project related to our history. Since I knew that my uncle was in possession of material that could be relevant for my project, I drove to his place and asked him to show it to me. He took me up to his attic, pointed at the cardboard box and said: “Take it, it’s yours.” I was delighted. Back home I opened the box right away and started to go through the material. I realized that what I had just received was a treasure, a cornucopia of new and unfamiliar knowledge that would feed my obsession.


Setting No. 1
Artport Tel Aviv
Setting No. 2
Kunsthaus Dresden
Muzeum Współczesne Wrocław
Setting No. 3
OFF-Biennale Budapest: Spinoza Theatre
Wiener Festwochen: Theater Nestroyhof Hamakom
Volkshaus Graz


The White Elephant Archive, Setting No. 3

(Asylum Arts, 15.1.2018) Eduard Freudmann talks about his new show, The White Elephant Archive, Setting No. 3. It will be presented in NYC at Columbia University on Thursday, February 1, with additional performances in Chicago and Los Angeles.
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Das Rumoren der Archive

(Paul Divjak: wina, 7+8/2015) Die Tatsache, sich selbst und anderen das Recht abzusprechen, die eigene Opfergeschichte zu erzählen, schreibt sich unter anderem in die großartige, bedächtige Performance von Eduard Freudmann ein, der in The White Elephant Archive, Setting No.3 mittels des umfassenden Archivs seiner Großmutter die Geschichte seines Großvaters aufarbeitet und mit reduzierten Mitteln als Dokudrama auf die Bühne bringt.
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“Diese Nacht hat mich zerbrochen”

(Kerstin Kellermann: skug, 7.7.2015) Wie geht die dritte Generation nach der Shoah, die Enkel der im KZ Ermordeten und der Überlebenden, mit den schrecklichen Ereignissen um? Endlich tauchen auch Ambivalenzen und Dialektiken aus dem Dunkel auf und man wird genauer. Einer, der sich in einer Performance damit auseinandersetzt, ist der Wiener Künstler Eduard Freudmann.
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Tempo di ricordare Into the City

(Angela Mayr: Il Manifesto, 4.7.2015) In scena "The White Elephant Archive" di Eduard Freudmann, 35 anni, terza generazione, famiglia ebraica e comunista, è cresciuto "ossessionato" dalla storia della sua famiglia.
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In den Himmel sehen

(Kerstin Kellermann: Augustin, 24.6.2015) Durch Sprache eine gewisse Distanzierung erreichen und sich doch gleichzeitig einlassen auf die eigenen Gefühle: Diese Schwierigkeit drücken die Gedichte von Armin Freudmann aus, die er zwei Jahre lang im Konzentrationslager schrieb.
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Volkshaus Graz

(Photos: Clemens Nestroy)

Theater Nestroyhof Hamakom, Vienna

(Photos: Benoit Bollon)

Spinoza Theatre, Budapest

(Photos: OFF Biennale)


Setting No. 1
Performed on November 10, 2012
at Artport Tel Aviv
Duration: 52 minutes

Language Editing: Hamoutal Ziulkowski
Camera Operator: Sheri Avraham
Sound Recording: Martin Riha
Moderator: Tahel Frosh
Setting No. 2
Performed on November 27, 2013
at Theater Nestroyhof Hamakom
Duration: 94 minutes

Consultation and support: Luisa Ziaja
Camera Operators: Guy Lichtenstein, Vera Freudmann
Sound Recording: Martin Riha
Language Editing: Erika Doucette
Setting No.3
Premiered on April 30, 2015
at Spinoza Theatre Budapest
Duration: 112 minutes

Scenic arrangement: Eva Reinold
Executive Producer: Živa Vavpotič
Stage Design: Ulrich Dertschei
Language Editing: Julie Dawson, Benjy Fox-Rosen
Translation of Poems: Sam Osborn
All Settings written and performed by Eduard Freudmann.

settings 1—3

Arison Foundation
Asylum Arts
Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest Federal Chancellery of Austria
Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture of Austria
Kunsthaus Dresden
OFF Biennale Budapest
< rotor > Graz
Schusterman Foundation
Wiener Festwochen