Nazism Changed My Life, 2008

Signed and numbered artist book, 720 p. edition of 10, AF Press

With his book Nazism Changed My Life, Bjørn Bjarre creates a link between the artist’s life and world history, and exposes a connection between politics and the individual’s emotions, as well as pointing out that there are hidden connections between historical events and personal histories. Connections not created by any established roles, but through the information available to us. It is difficult not to take sides in conflict and war. One tends to identify with either the perpetrators or the victims. The middle position could be that of a witness, but it might only be a possible position for the outsider. To those of us born after World War II, there is an implied responsibility to identify with both sides of this devastating historic event. But sixty years down the line it is impossible to take the position of that of a witness. Through Nazism Changed My Life, other alternative roles are investigated.

...In many ways our memory is a way of putting our own history into a loose system. Having personal ties to historical events we haven’t experienced can also be said to be some kind of memory, a collective memory we are more or less influenced by. On the first page of the book we can read a quote by an old Native American chief, and on the following pages a Super-8-film is captured on the pages in which the artist himself plays with a pink plastic rabbit. The aesthetics of the Super-8-film leads us towards memories. Additionally the rabbit, in spite of it being ordinary and small in size, points to the monument as a safe keeper of memories, as it will always refer to the American artist Jeff Koons´ piece Rabbit from 1986...

- Anne Szefer Karlsen, from the exhibition catalogue for Tempo Skien