November 21, 2014 – extended until February 22, 2015
FORUM 034: Franz Wanner – Toxische Heimat (Toxic Homeland)

’Toxische Heimat‘ (Toxic Homeland) is an exhibition which gives insight into Franz Wanner’s ’Gift – Gegengift. Krankheitsbilder einer Stadt’ (Toxin – Antitoxin. Clinical Pictures of a Town) cycle which focuses on the spa town of Bad Tölz in Upper Bavaria. This installation combines a visual dimension consisting of archive material and the artist’s own photographs with an audio dimension comprising a spoken-word soundtrack composed by Wanner and performed by Babylonia Constantinides.

Franz Wanner uncovers different facets of his home town, designated a spa town around the turn of the 20th century on account of its iodine-rich natural springs. Even today, the town’s identity is built on its history as a spa. In the artist’s narrative, the chemical element iodine represents the historical element of the town’s history. It acts as a symbol of dissolved substances providing evidence of the material transformation of ideas into products and immaterial concepts into the principles that underpin people’s real beliefs. The visual and spoken dimensions combine to create a ‘walk-through movie’ that weaves together empirical events with others from the artist’s own experience.

It offers visitors the opportunity, through fictional and factual episodes, to experience events from the town’s history past and present, from the Nazi era, when a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located in Bad Tölz, to the recent arms industry and the secret spy meetings that took place at the Alpamare fun water park during the Cold War. Its enigmatic narrative explores typical scenarios of the reality of life in Germany: 'How is the integration of the arms industry ratcheted up to give a regional profile a more profitable edge?', asks Wanner. 'What role does Germany’s past play in building its present? How do utopias behave when they are somewhat advanced in years?'

Following exhibitions in Braunschweig and Frankfurt, the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s Photography Collection is currently displaying a compilation of elements from the cycle, on which Wanner has worked continuously since 2012. His first monograph ‘Die Anmaßung’ (The Presumption), published in 2011 by Kerber Verlag, will be available from the museum’s ticket office and online shop for the duration of the exhibition.

After completing his technical training in photography, cinematography and editing at film school, Franz Wanner (b. 1975 in Bad Tölz) studied art and media theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 2012, he received a Fine Arts scholarship from the City of Munich. Franz Wanner currently works as a freelance artist.