Hotel Chelsea — Köln

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 4263 cm Edition 7

Singly 25 Euros

Edition 7: 84126 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 3897714256 (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

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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: www​.brook​lyn​mu​seum​.org: 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 3503061258 (D)
2002 Cornelia Gerner Internet page on Ury for the House of World Cultures, Berlin www​.culture​base​.net
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 3897714256 (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 3039101501 (CH) www​.peter​lang​.com
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 muse​.jhu​.edu (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 3930054388 (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 3897714256; Gesellschaft­s­the­orie und Postkolo­niale Kritik” (Society and Post­colo­nial Crit­i­cism). Unrast Verlag, ISBN 3897714256. (D) New release 2012 www​.unrast​-verlag​.de/s… www​.unrast​-verlag​.de/a…


Lux Online, British Film and Video Artists, London, www​.luxon​line​ (GB)
Cinenova, Women’s Film and Video Distrib­utor, London www​.cinenova​ (GB)
2006 (from September) Koerperein/​satz (Body Action), Stichting Smokkel, Video Archive Maas­tricht, www​.koer​pere​in​satz​.net (NL)

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