Hanae Utamura combines a wide range of image and text material with light projections and object arrangements to create a complex spatial installation, in which she visualizes the transformation processes of historical time-places as the specific site of socio-political constructs.
Her latest project, Holiday at War identifies leisure as an organized period of time, investigating it against the conflicting relationship of autonomy and heteronomy. Inspired by the story of the National Socialist “Kraft durch Freude” (Strength through Joy) organization and its monumental buildings in the seaside resort Prora on the Baltic island of Rügen she clarifies current social developments in ‘gathering strength’: the resurrection of the listed holiday complex began in 2004, and in future it will be turned into luxury holiday apartments.
In Utamura’s work a black box the size of Albert Speer’s prison cell in Berlin-Spandau transforms the temporal perspective of Hitler’s propagandist visions and major projects, uncovering the concept of collective leisure as a strictly organized, controlling mechanism. In contrast to romantic notions of sea and relaxation, Utamura provocatively relates aspects of recreation to the machinery of work and war, critically questioning today’s industrial society and striving for efficiency via an historical perspective. Free time thus becomes a productive component of an increasingly achievement-oriented society, which Utamura reveals as a complex ideological construction, closely linked to the labour economy.
Hanae Utamura is currently receiving a grant from the Pola Art Foundation.