The Museum of Fascism

28 Jun
Repressió i Resistència by Arqueologia del punt de vista

Repressió i Resistència by Arqueologia del punt de vista

Travelling through Eastern Europe, or at any rate through the countries of the ‘former Soviet bloc’ you encounter memorials and museums of the communist regimes, and of their overthrow. Though they vary widely, from Romania’s passionately Christian and anti-communist memorials to the DDR Ostalgie of the Berlin tourist trail, they also carry a similar air of commemorating a regime that existed within living memory, and requesting a commitment of conscience to preserving its replacement, democracy.

Not so much in Western Europe, where WWII memorials exist but the moral continuity of regimes since 1945 is assumed, and any mention of democracy concentrates on national efforts to defeat the fundamentally external force of Nazism. Coming across Barcelon’a Democratic Memorial, then, is a sharp reminder that for most of the period between the end of the Second World war and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Iberian peninsula, a substantial chunk of non-Soviet Europe, languished under a fascism supposedly defeated with Hitler.

The Museum itself uses multimedia presentations to illustrate the fall of Francoism and contemporaneous world events, but its main effort this summer is the installation of large reproductions of photographs taken in public spaces under Franco’s regime in those same places. It seeks to emphasise the role of public space and its control under a dictatorship and to return history to public spaces. The accompanying leaflet describes the photographs as an ‘intervention’ but the public too are capable of making their own interventions: a photo of Franco in a motorcade by Barcelona cathedral rapidly picks up insulting and angry graffiti.

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