My personal projects bring me to unexpected places without and within. They allow me to discover new perspectives on life, on womanhood, on identity and spirituality.
Memories of a beloved Place
When the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, and changed the world, an indirect and largely unknown consequence of this event took place, the disappearance of a central-European minority – a minority that Mona Simon belongs to. The Transylvanian Saxons are a German population group living in what is today Romania. . Over the course of the centuries this region first belonged to Hungary, then Austria respectively to Austria-Hungary, finally becoming a part of Romania in 1918.
1990. Mona Simon is ten years old. In this Year almost all Saxons leave Romania, approximately 850 years after their arrival, migrating “back” to Germany.
A whole people collectively decide to virtually disappear.
Mona’s work deals with exile and remembrance and takes place in the midst of an individually, as well as collectively painful context – that of the vast disappearance of a nation. To give this work the title of a Tchaikovsky piece „Memory of a Beloved Place“ alludes to the 19th Century nostalgia of a paradise lost, a paradise in Eastern Europe which the artist sets out to find some 20 years later. Her approach can not be anything but clearly different, as the means of expression are when comparing photography to music or even poetry, such as Baudelaire’s poem „le vert paradis des amours enfantines“(“The green paradise of childlike loves”). Language and music can breath new life into the past world, yet memories cannot be photographed. At most, the origin, the place, where the memory was formed, can be shown in its present materialistic state and the souvenir is embedded in this reality. Photography as such, therefore, demands and cultivates a permanent dialectic between memory and reality.