Hannes Egger

Project Terra, 2014 — 2017


The Project Terra by Hannes Egger is inspired by a significant and painful historical event – the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. However, the artist’s intention is not only to highlight the commemorativeact associated with the remembrance of this circumstance, but also to make its tragic legacy present in the contemporary social context through a seemingly simple and straightforward artistically developer gesture of caring, cultivating and sharing. Thematically, Hannes Egger draws on events connected with the situation in Galicia – the former easternmost region of Austria-Hungary – which was the scene of extremely bloody fighting from August 1914 to December 1917, involving, among other also the soldiers from South Tyrol, which was then part of the Habsburg monarchy and where this author lives today.

As part of this project, Hannes Egger first had the soil on the former battlefields around the Polish town of Przemysl excavated and then transported to the Franzensfeste/Fortezza fortress in South Tyrol (Italy). On this site, which is one of the symbols of the history of South Tyrol, which was part of the Austrian lands until 1919 and was annexed to Italy as a result of the First World War, the artist created a temporary field for growing potatoes from imported soil. The products of his farming activities were then harvested, cooked and served to the public as part of a performative potato festival. In the process of exploring the traces of long-ago events, Hannes Egger thus used informal care of the land, the cultivation of staple foods, and the ritual sharing of the results of his own agricultural labor as a means of tracing their relevance to our present situation.

Hannes Egger with contribution by Michal Koleček