Phaidon stands for the expulsion of Jewish modernists from Vienna. The publishing house’s history evokes not only the enormous human loss through murder and forced emigration during National Socialism, but also the degree to which that loss has marked cultural and political life in Austria ever since. Phaidon press was founded in Vienna. One of its aims was to increase people’s access to modern art and to produce high-quality books for low prices. These facts are now almost entirely forgotten. In their design and typography Phaidon’s publications clearly opposed the politics and the aesthetics of Austro-fascism.
Klub Zwei translates these modernist features into an engagement with current social policies. Phaidon: Verlage im Exil (Phaidon: Presses in Exile) forms part of a larger investigation by Klub Zwei that addresses the responsibility for the loss. In this project, descendants of Nazi perpetrators engage critically with their family’s and society’s past. That involves identifying the aesthetic and political influences of which Vienna was deprived through actively participating in the Shoah, this huge rupture in civilization.