The video installation As from Afar explores the relationship between Simon Wiesenthal, the Jewish Holocaust survivor who devoted his life to hunting Nazis, and Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and armaments minister. As from Afar is a fictionalized account of Wiesenthal and Speer’s meetings and uses dialogue based on their letters. Speer first wrote to Wiesenthal in 1974, after his release from prison, in an effort to accept some responsibility for his war crimes. His public admission of his moral misconduct impressed Wiesenthal; they began a correspondence that lasted until the early 1980s. Gal takes this strange relationship as a starting point for a meditation on how historical events are recalled, recorded, and distorted. The artist uses cinematic techniques and documentary materials to reconstruct such events, while remaining fully aware of the problematic nature of any re-creation.
The exhibition was curated by Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, and Joanna Montoya Robotham, Neubauer Family Foundation Assistant Curator. The film was co-produced by the Jewish Museum, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria, and Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland.