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Phaidon. Verlage im Exil / Presses in Exile

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.


Phaidon. Verlage im Exil / Presses in Exile

“The film turns to the history of the Phaidon Press, which was founded in 1923 by Béla Horovitz in Vienna. Horovitz and his partner Ludwig Goldscheider were interested in publishing books whose layout should visibly express an appreciation of modernity. The consistent use of simple Bauhaus fonts and graphics devoted to modern design principles was more than just a publishing ambition. It should also subvert the ideology of the Austrian corporative state. Horovitz was able to save the publishing house from national socialist persecution by selling it in 1938, effectively moving its headquarters to England, where he took exile. Klub Zwei’s interest is not aimed primarily at the historical examination of a successful enterprise. Instead, Phaidon is an example of the loss of people and of cultural resources that cannot be replaced through “reparations”—the voids in Austria and Germany caused by National Socialism that must be made apparent.”

(Karin Gludovatz; Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt)



Presses in Exile

A video (installation) by Klub Zwei:
Simone Bader and Jo Schmeiser

Directors of photography:
Anita Makris, Daniel Pöhacker, Klub Zwei

Editors: Klub Zwei

A 2005 (three channel version)
A 2006 (single channel version)
BetaSP, 4:3, Color, Stereo
Language: German, English
Running time: 23 min.


Elly Miller
Ursula Seeber
Tamar Wang

Directors of Photography:
Anita Makris (Elly Miller)
Daniel Pöhacker (Elly Miller and Tamar Wang)
Klub Zwei (Ursula Seeber)

Erika Doucette

Colour and sound correction:
Friedemann Derschmidt
Volkmar Klien

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