performance for Kaufkaus JOSKE

Kundschaft mit Einkaufstüte des Kaufhaus JOSKE / customers with plastic bag of JOSKE mall - Frank Höhle
prev 1/10

For one night, the former Jewish-owned department store JOSKE opened its doors again. In 1933, the family-run JOSKE, one of the earliest Leipzig department stores (1904), had to closedown due to Nazi boycotts and expropriation. Most members of the founding family died in the Holocaust. Until recently, the history of the building had been forgotten.


Upon entering the premises, a friendly receptionist welcomed the customers. As part of the performance, they could enjoy a drink, listen to lush background music and sounds from the Leipzig Karstadt shopping mall or admire the illuminated facade of the former department store. On the way out, every visitor was handed a designer plastic bag bearing a fictitious JOSKE logo. These bags were distributed everywhere in the city, suggesting a recent shopping experience at an existing Kaufhaus JOSKE.


The critic is part of her critique and

»the flâneur is not a consumer, he is (himself) a commodity«

(from Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project)

Projekt Kaufhaus Joske takes the point of departure for the discussions it hosts from the history of the former department store that bore its name. This (almost) invisible history provides the foundation for Bertram Haude’s performance. The department store was the first of its kind in Leipzig-Plagwitz and is thus a symbol of early consumer culture. As such it suggests an angle for the critical interrogation of capitalism that is part of Haude’s artistic practice. However, the specifics of the house’s history, the deportation and murder of its jewish owners, disrupts this line of attack while at the same time providing a new perspective. Haude poses the question: »Can we find a space within an invisible department store that provides the necessary distance for considered critique?«