Video 28 minutes, German/English
Betacam SP, colour, 1995

2005 Trailer 5.30 minutes

Hotel Chelsea – Köln awarded ‘Best Confrontational Video’ at the VIVA 8 Festival, London 1996

Hotel Chelsea – Köln 1995 Video Stills
Photo series Edition 21 C Prints
Price 450 Euros 42 x 63 cm Edition 7
Singly 25 Euros
Edition 7: 84 x 126 cm
Price 450 Euros

Hotel Chelsea – Köln copy videocassette: 25 €

Hotel Chelsea – Köln the script (1995) has been published in Gesellschafstheorie und Postcoloniale Kritik (Social Theory and Post-Colonial Critique), Unrast Verlag ISBN 3-89771-425-6 (D) 2003



The hotel: a place where travellers and/or lovers rendezvous or rest; a visit possibly forgotten in its transience or remembered by its intensity. The title suggests a connection with the USA by its namesake in New York. So, while sleeping in Germany, the visitor may dream away continents and escape to cold-war-distant America. 1995, the year in which, fifty years later, the end of the war and the liberation of the concentration camps are remembered in Europe, ‘Hotel Chelsea – Köln’, the video, filmed site specifically, is an unlikely memorial.

Visual scenarios in this artwork seem to bear little relationship to the narrative – what one sees only indirectly illustrates the voice-over and textual accounts. Alongside the many related incidents of hypocrisy and prejudice in everyday encounters, the spectator is forced to choose between what is seen and what is heard. The images render rituals of courtship and sex where the less conventional gender role-play is a deceptive ploy to further divert attention from the disturbing accounts – the sexual imagery allows no escapist fantasy.

Only some of the texts are concerned directly with the theme of remembrance; these are incorporated into descriptions of contemporary life in Germany; the general atmosphere is of a post: -war, wall, feminist, Modern – malaise. All German texts are repeated in English translation. Repetition is an integral part of the piece, where errors of judgement and bad behaviour are repeated in different situations.

Tanya Ury



“In many ways, drawing on Cavani’s Il portiere di notte, Tanya Ury’s video artwork Hotel Chelsea – Köln (1995) attempts to formulate these multiple layers within the postwar German-Jewish encounter.1 Hotel Chelsea – Köln assembles its images of a Jewish woman’s lovemaking with a transgendered German through empty frames and jump cuts, which conjure a disjointed German-Jewish dyad, while the voiceover describes her encounters with German men and women filled with physical and verbal abuse. In one episode, a woman sexually assaults the female narrator, while insisting that she quite likely would have been a camp overseer; in another, a non-Jewish woman sharing a mirror with the voiceover speaker slips into antisemitic speech. By juxtaposing on-screen lovemaking and off-screen narration, and through lapses in the verbal and visual language, Ury shows the history of violence underlying images of a German-Jewish romance. Ury’s piece acknowledges the sexual dimension of human experience, while exposing its historical and cultural conditioning, thus producing the double vision needed for a fuller appreciation of varying positional differences and political responses of women during the Holocaust. If feminist sisterhood indeed exists, it must examine the Greses2 who also loom in the mirror.”

Last paragraph: Double Visions: Queer Femininity and Holocaust Film from Ostatni Etap to Aimée & Jaguar 2007, Cathy S. Gelbin…



1 Gelbin, Cathy S. “Die jüdische Thematik im (multi)kulturellen Diskurs der Bundesrepublik.” AufBrüche. Kulturelle Produktionen von Migrantinnen, Schwarzen und jüdischen Frauen in Deutschland. Ed. Cathy Gelbin et al. Königstein / Taunus: Ulrike Helmer Verlag, 1999. 87–111.

2 “…the SS overseer Irma Grese may have caused up to thirty deaths per day among the various prisoner categories” P 43 The Beautiful Beast: The Life & Crimes of SS-Aufseherin Irma Grese. Daniel Patrick Brown. Ventura, CA: Golden West Historical Publications, 2004.


 Hungarian translation Kristóf Szabó






The video extract is a collation from different parts of the video.


Presentation of Video:

1995 Coincidence, Ignis, European Cultural Centre Cologne (D)

1995 The Krakow Meetings, Poland (PL)

1996 Reading University Fine Art Department (GB)

1996 VIVA 8 Festival awarded: Best Confrontational Video, London (GB)

1996 Edinburgh Fringe Film & Video Festival (GB)

1996 Whitechapel Gallery, London (GB)

1996 Mensch 2000, Hochbunker Cologne-Ehrenfeld (D)

1997 Der Durchtriebene Blick (The Sly Look), Institute of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, University of Cologne (D)

1997 Hotel Chelsea – Köln, Hotels, with Doris Frohnapfel, SCHULZ Cologne (D)

1997 Grenzenlos und Unverschämt (Without Limits and Outrageous), Alte Feuerwache, Cologne (D)

1997 Cuba Cultur, Munster (D)

1997 Class of Hito Steyerl, Vienna Art Academy (A)

1997 Queer Discord, Lux Cinema, London Film Makers Co-Op, London (GB)

1998 Not Black and White, Group exhibition with Doris Frohnapfel, Fotogalerie Brotfabrik, Berlin (D) 

1999 crosslinks, (Videothek), Berliner Marstall (D)

2000 Heimat Kunst, House of World Cultures Berlin (D)

2000 Gegen den Strich (Against the Grain), Museum Ludwig, C (D)

2000 The Body – Between Condition and Construction, International Women’s University, Hannover (D)

2001 Stuttgarter Film Winter, Filmhaus Stuttgart (D)

2002 Galerie Januar, Bochum, Videowoche (Videoweek) (D)

2002 Group exhibition, Ambivalence, Women’s Museum Bonn (D)

2002 Group exhibition, Ambivalence, Galerie Münsterland Emsdetten (D)

2002 Solo Exhibition of entire series, Kultur Köln 30 (D)

2002 2 Photos in Group exhibition Gegen den Strich (Against the Grain), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (D)

2003 2 Photos in group exhibition Jahresgaben Köln Kultur 30, Cologne (D)

2005 (7.-16.10.) Hotel Chelsea – Köln, Women Make Waves Festival, Kaohsiung and Taipei and in from October to December in touring film programme of 20 cities in Taiwan (TW)

2005 (22.12.) Solo exhibtion, Hotel Chelsea – Köln, 10 year anniversary in the Suite, Chelsea Hotel, Cologne (D)

2006 (27.2.) Peer Critique, trailer, Ben Uri Gallery, The London Jewish Museum (GB)

2006 (5.4.) Professional Practice Seminar with trailer, Fine Art Department, Sheffield Hallam University (GB)

2006 (6.4.) Trailer, presented in Seminar within Cathy Gelbin’s PhD. Conference course: Gender and Visual Arts, Holocaust Studies, Royal Holloway, London (D)

2006 (10.5.) Körperbilder (Body Images), seminar with video trailer, Kunstverein Dortmund (D)

2006 (26.7.-9.8.) Solo exhibition, Tüzrakter Independent Cultural Centre, Budapest (HU)

2006 (9.-19.9.) Hotel Chelsea – Köln, Koerperein/satz (Body Action), Stichting Smokkel, in the Museumcafé Staedtischen Museum Abteiberg, at the c/ountryclub Internationales Videokunst-Festival, Moenchengladbach (D)

2007 (23.3.) On the online Feminist Art Base: video trailer, The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, The Brooklyn Museum, New York (USA)

2007 (27.9) Screening at the opening of the ”Avant-Garde Dating” week at Art Forum, The New Art Gallery, Choriner Strasse 85, Berlin (D)


Actors: Tanya Ury, Doris Frohnapfel

Voice over: Thomas Bömer, Hella Delfs, Doris Frohnapfel,

Sven Knoch, Gesa Marten, Tanya Ury

German translation: Thomas Bömer, Doris Frohnapfel, Gesa Marten, Tanya Ury

Script, camera edit and direction: Tanya Ury

Publications & Press

2000 (7.4) Hotel Chelsea – Köln featured in article by Henrike Thomsen about Heimat Kunst, Spiegel (newspaper) (D)

2000 Hotel Chelsea – Köln feat. in catalogue of exhibition Heimat Kunst, House of World Cultures, Berlin (D)

2002 Plath, Hitchcock und die Metaphorik der Shoah: zur Vermitteltheit von Geschichte und Identität in der Kunst Tanya Urys, Dr Cathy S. Gelbin in Deutsch-jüdische Literatur der neunziger Jahre: Die Generation nach der Shoah (Plath, Hitchcock and Metaphors of the Shoah: the Mediation of History and Identity in the Art of Tanya Ury), by Dr Cathy S. Gelbin, German-Jewish Literature of the nineties: The Generation after the Shoah), publ. Erich Schmidt Verlag ISBN 3-503-06125-8 (D)

2002 Cornelia Gerner Internet page on Ury for the House of World Cultures, Berlin

2002 (10.8) Hotel Chelsea – Köln video stills, article Gabriele Breun, Kölnische Rundschau (D) article as PDF

2003 Metaphern des Genozids Die Repräsentation von Geschichte und Identität in der Kunst Tanya Urys von Dr Cathy S. Gelbin in Gesellschafstheorie und Postcoloniale Kritik (Metaphors of Genocide, The Staging of History and Identity in the Art of Tanya Ury), by Dr Cathy S. Gelbin in Social Theory und Post-Colonial Critique, publ. Unrast Verlag ISBN 3-89771-425-6 (D)

2003 Metaphors of Genocide: The Staging of Jewish History and Identity in the Art of Tanya Ury, by Dr Cathy S. Gelbin in: Performance and Performativity in German Studies, ed. by Caroline Duttlinger et al. Oxford: publ. Peter Lang AG. ISBN 3-03910-150-1 (CH)

2005 (11) Announcement of Taiwan screenings with image fom Hotel Chelsea – Köln in Kunstforum International, edition 178 (D)

2007 (12) Reference to Ury’s work (Kölnisch Wasser and Hotel Chelsea – Köln) in Double Visions: Queer Femininity and Holocaust Film from Statni Etap to Aimée & Jaguar, Dr. Cathy S. Gelbin, Women in German Yearbook 2007. Volume Twenty-three. Feminist Studies in German Literature & Culture. Edited by Helga Kraft and Maggie McCarthy. University of Nebraska Press ISBN 0803216017 (USA)

Artist’s Writings & Publications


1997 2 Photos in Collectors book, Mensch 2000, HochBunker Cologne -Ehrenfeld (D)

1998 Article: Wi(e)der-Sprache (Talking Back) with Ury images, Springerin Art Magazine (A)

2000 video stills in catalogue of exhibition, Heimat Kunst, House of World Cultures, Berlin (D)

2000 Hotel Chelsea – Köln, 2 video stills in Gegen den Strich (Against the Grain) catalogue, Museum Ludwig, publ. Locher Verlag, Cologne ISBN 3-930054-38-8 (D)

2000 Hotel Chelsea – Köln feat. in catalogue of exhibition Heimat Kunst, House of World Cultures, Berlin (D)

2003 Publication of the script (English and German) of Tanya Ury’s video Hotel Chelsea – Köln (1995) in “Spricht die Subalterne deutsch? Migration und postkoloniale Kritik“ (Can the Subaltern speak German? Migration and Postcolonial Criticism), Hito Steyerl, Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez (editors.): ISBN 3-89771-425-6; “Gesellschaftstheorie und Postkoloniale Kritik” (Society and Postcolonial Criticism). Unrast Verlag, ISBN 3-89771-425-6. (D) New release 2012……


Lux Online, British Film and Video Artists, London, (GB)

Cinenova, Women’s Film and Video Distributor, London (GB)

2006 (from September) Koerperein/satz (Body Action), Stichting Smokkel, Video Archive Maastricht, (NL)

Scroll to Top