The exhibition PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE CEILING re-frames the theme of past ideologies and their traumatic repression into the forms of architectonic signs that symptomatically appear in culture through the visual repetition in time. In a conceptual manner the artist Claire Waffel who often works with various time structures found as simultaneous or dislocated fragments in a person, landscape or architecture deals with the site of House of Arts in Košice - a Jewish synagogue converted during Communism. She reveals the nature of the covering over of the religious ornamental ceiling from the late 1950´s reconstruction in the Socialist-Realism style as a symbol of cultural amnesia. Uncovering the original synagogue cupola the artist not only makes the sedimental layer visible but by the work in situ that finds the same architectural residues in the recently reconstructed gallery ceiling, she literally lets the sky or the horizon of our perception of the world fall down. This happens in front of the eyes of the post-communist viewer used to the obsessive practice of lowering the ceilings both in public and private spaces since the times of Communism. The story illustrates the changing relationship between topography and identity, a collective identity of Košice post 1989 that instead of opening a discourse on the Holocaust as was expected in post-communist places, strongly adhered to the popular discourse on Central Europe with the idealized version of multiculturalism and the life of minorities. Just a few days before the opening of the exhibition the historians publicly declared the Holocaust in Košice and southern Slovakia that were a part of Hungary during World War Two to be a blind spot. This followed media information that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre announced Laszlo Csatary, a police commander in Košice responsible for the transport of more than 15 000 Jews to be the most wanted living Nazi collaborator in the world.
Curator: Ivana Komanická