• by Ellen Blumenstein, 2014


Ilit Azoulay’s KW POCKET is the third in KW’s pocket-size publica- tion series, which follows the institution’s program and develops independent print iterations of projects that took place in its house in a set format but with ever-changing content. This edition continues in line with the inaugural book MARKIERUNG, with Ned- ko Solakov, which connected the building’s history and future through markings on its very walls. For her project, Azoulay also turned KW’s building into her reference point; it was her home base, literally, for her residency period, during which she ex- plored the trove of history, folklore and ghosts its walls hold. Story lines that started in its spaces led her on different paths throughout Germany, and at times eventually back to August- straße 69, back to K W. Artists’ subjective experiences with the house and its history naturally enliven it for all of us working here as well, and in conversations with Azoulay it was always clear that for us both, the building is a dynamic being, animated by the new relationships between it and the artists and curators that spend time with it.

Azoulay’s interest in the site and its history are part of her larger fascination with bringing out the particular stories buried be- neath dry, archival materials, and reconnecting them to our con- temporary world. In Israel as well as in Germany, her chosen themes of reconstruction and preservation are specifically in- separable from their respective narratives of nation-building and collective memory. These histories are in turn highly subjec- tive — for every site or object, various memories conflict and intersect, and the further away the memory is, the blurrier it may become. In the »exhibit« texts that comprise this book, Azoulay’s personal adventures and the story of information’s extraction shadow their archival facts and place them in the context the art- ist uncovered, attached, or perhaps imagined. By keeping these borders unmarked, she leaves it up to the reader to decide when to trust the inconsistent, at times even secretive narrator, and where to rather do their own research. The descriptions’ irregu- larity creates a web, whose connections break down at points and come together in other unexpected, even mystical ways.

This publication includes a critical text on Azoulay’s work by Berlin based curator and writer Katia Reich, whose expertise in contemporary photography as well as her inside knowledge of KW and its history, made her the perfect counterpart for the proj- ect. The texts and images of the various »exhibits« are the result of Azoulay’s residency period as well, and are presented in K W ’s project room as an installation between September 14 and No- vember 16, 2014. This book proposes an independent encounter with the same materials, and invites a non-linear, associative reading.