Pia Rönicke

Croy Nielsen

The private correspondence of Rosa Luxemburg lies at the heart of Pia Rönicke’s Rosa’s Letters—Telling a Story, 2006. Yet telling the story of this complex multimedia installation might prove more challenging than narrating the life of Luxemburg, the Marxist leader who was often imprisoned for her political activities and then murdered by Freicorps militia in Berlin in 1919. While alluding to the official public history, Rönicke restaged her own subjective “appropriation” of letters that Luxemburg wrote to her lovers and friends between 1891 and 1918. Instead of one story, there are two: the past and its transmission to the present.

To bridge these two intimate realms of experience—the act of writing the letters and then of reading them almost a century later—the viewer entered an installation of three stagelike units, enclosed within each other like Russian matryoshka dolls. Every stage

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