ZU SPÄT (Too Late) it grew on the Morzinplatz. ZU SPÄT. As a warning cry reminding us of many neglects. It was ZU SPÄT that homosexuals and transgender people persecuted under Nazism were recognized as victims. It is ZU SPÄT for the square still to wait for a worthy use. Austria has taken time to look back critically on Nazism and it has raised the right questions on the past ZU SPÄT: the lettering was deliberately placed immediately opposite the former Gestapo-headquarters in the former Hotel Metropole, where today the Leopold-Figl-Hof, a residential building, is located.
The artist Carola Dertnig and the landscape architect Julia Rode created as part of the special cooperation for this project the 20-meter-long lettering from hardy plants and framed it with metal strips. An ascending wooden boardwalk leads the visitors up to a direct viewing, to a conscious examination of the artistic intervention and the theme of the location: to confront oneself with the past and at the same time to understand the present as a product of just that past. The houseleek, carnation and sedum plant species that Carola Dertnig and Julia Rode chose are extremely hardy, groundcovering plants that can stand up to the unwieldy location and simply continue to flourish. The house-leek, by the way, is said to have antiseptic qualities; the carnation is seen as a symbol of a fighting community. In this way, through the plants a poetic correspondence with the theme which cannot immediately be traced back is introduced.
Since Dertnig and Rode are here concretely addressing the history of persecution, destruction and subsequent lacking recognition of the homosexuals and transsexuals as victims of the Third Reich.
In 1936, for example, the Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion’s subsumption of sexual minorities to one homogenous group became institutionalized reality. Not least, the installation also turned against a homogenization of gays, lesbians and transsexuals to one victim group — and against understanding them as a continued mirror of heteronormativity. So ZU SPÄT could certainly also be understood as a call to reconsider and change attitudes and inherited belief systems.
Extracts from the text by Carola Platzek.
Ruprechtspl. 1, 1010 Wien, Österreich
*1963 in Innsbruck (AT), lives and works in Vienna
*1981 in Graz (AT), lives and works in Vienna
Partners and sponsors
Garden design Fuchs, Neufeld
WASt – Viennese Unit for Antidiscrimination of Same-Sex and Transgender Life Styles