Christian Kasners: Kasprzycki
The project "Kasprzycki" is based on research about Kasner's grandfather Anton and his two wives Hildegard and Gertrud. They are multi-layered interwoven biographies located in East Prussia and Silesia, which Kasners seeks to disentangle and uncover using surviving documents, black-and-white photographs, and family narratives. The story begins with grandfather Anton's parents, who emigrated from East Prussia to the Ruhr region around 1900 and dropped their Polish surname "Kasprzycki" in the early 1920s. Anton lived for a while in Berlin with his wife Hildegard and their common son Wolfgang, before Anton returned to the Ruhr area after divorcing Hildegard. He met his future wife Gertrud, and they married in 1942. While Hildegard, their joint son Wolfgang, and a later-born daughter of Hildegard's were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in July 1942 because of their Jewish ancestry, Anton served in the German Wehrmacht for several months beginning in 1941 in a prisoner-of-war camp for Soviet soldiers in Biała Podlaska, near the Belarusian border.
This is where the unanswered questions begin, which Christian Kasners will address. A small series of photographs handed down from family possessions becomes the source material for Christian Kasners to artistically process what he suspects. It leads to research on starvation, disease and mass shootings of mainly Soviet prisoners, as one of the other terrible crimes of the German Wehrmacht in the East, which has so far been little reflected in the German public. And to the certainty that grandfather Anton was also involved in the gruesome events.
The artist Christian Kasners, born in 1983 in Bottrop, has been working on the project under the working title "Kasprzycki" since 2019 with funding from the Kunststiftung NRW and support from the GHH. Christian Kasners studied photography with Gisela Bullacher, Elisabeth Neudörfl, Christopher Muller at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, from 2009 to 2017, including at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester (USA) from 2014 to 2015 and has been a master student with Annette Kisling at the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig since 2019.
Opening: 6:00 pm