Visitors in an exhibition of large format colorful photographs on the walls across the room

Staging Jewishness

Artist Talk with the Photographer Frédéric Brenner (video recording available)

“[It] felt like stumbling into a piece of street theater, a drama of redemption fit for one of the city’s famous opera houses, part morality play, part masquerade, part theater of memory—all performed above an abyss. […] Jewishness is being staged and celebrated everywhere, from theater to klezmer to Jewish cooking, but this “Jewish revival” often feels less like an act of healing than some novel form of disfigurement.”

– Frédéric Brenner in his essay on the exhibition ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES

recording available

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green


W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
(Opposite the Museum)

Video recording from 2 March 2022; Jewish Museum Berlin 2022

In this artist talk, the photographer Frédéric Brenner will speak with the historian Daniel Schönpflug about how to contextualize his work ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES, which is currently on display at the Jewish Museum Berlin. Does the photographic essay fit within a practice of staging Jewishness? Or are the photographs an echo of a farewell, perhaps an expression of a new beginning? Are Jews already losing their symbolic function for Germans?

In his photographic essay ZERHEILT, the internationally renowned photographer Frédéric Brenner explores Berlin as a site of various stagings of Jewishness. The exhibition offers fragmentary glimpses of life in this city that are replete with paradoxes, dissonances, gaps, and opposing narratives between grappling with the past and the desire for redemption.

Frédéric Brenner

Frédéric Brenner is known for his photographic investigations of longing, belonging, and exclusion. In his works, he creates a visual memory of contemporary Jewish people.

Daniel Schönpflug

Daniel Schönpflug is a professor of contemporary history at the Freie Universität Berlin and the academic coordinator at the Wissenschaftskollegs zu Berlin (Berlin Institute for Advanced Study).

Photo of Frédéric Brenner in half profile, seated, wearing yellow shirt

Frédéric Brenner; photo: Ali Ghandtschi

Person alone on one of the red seats in the auditorium of an empty theater, head resting in hands

Exhibition Frédéric Brenner – ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES: Features & Programs

Exhibition Webpage
Frédéric Brenner – ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES: 3 Sep 2021 to 24 Apr 2022
Frédéric Brenner: ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES: 2021, publication accompanying the exhibition
Accompanying Events
Hevrutah: Zerheilen – Healing to Pieces: Invitation to learn together
See also
Frédéric Brenner, photographer
Digital Content
Without the Leaves, I Would Not Have Started: Essay by Frédéric Brenner on ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES, 2021
Current page: Staging Jewishness: Video recording of the artist talk with Frédéric Brenner, 2022
ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES – The Subjects Pose with Their Portraits: Photos and interviews about Jewish life in Berlin, 2021/22
Hevrutah on Memory/Place: Video recording, with Yemima Hadad, Netanel Olhoeft, Dekel Peretz, and Barbara Steiner, 2021, in German with English subtitles
Hevrutah on Otherness/Responsibility: Video recording, with Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, Benyamin Reich, Irene Runge, and Adam Joachim Goldmann, 2021, in German with English subtitles
Hevrutah on Homeland/Diaspora: Video recording, with Akiva Weingarten, Sonia Simmenauer, Elad Lapidot, and Aviva Ronnefeld, 2022, in German with English subtitles

Where, when, what?

  • When2 Mar 2022
  • Where W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
    Klaus Mangold Auditorium
    Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin (Opposite the Museum)
    See location on map

Video Recordings: Watch Past Museum Events (70)

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