Here in Paradise

CR 900. Year 2014

Here in paradise Jochen Gerz photo Peter Zoeller CR 900 web 2

I never did history. I regret this and it affects me when it comes to Europe. Because of this I cannot be bothered with newspapers or TV. Ignorance can be a closed gate. It can create fears and ...

One recurrent sentiment is that the selfishness of the Celtic Tiger damaged, perhaps permanently, the traditional warmth of our social relationships and communal responsibility. Rather than regretting the loss of financial wealth, people regret what was lost in pursuit of that wealth… By redistributing the responses, Gerz is emphasising the fact that these diverse personalities and opinions all make up a community. He sees each person as symbolically minding the opinion of another. “The idea of being a keeper of the other, of taking responsibility for the other, is very important,” he says… Gerz sees it as very much in keeping with his own belief in an aesthetics of production, not consumption. It is up to people to shape their culture, not passively accept what others decide.

Aidan Dunne 2014

It was not unusual to pass through Sneem and on your return trip see the people you noticed earlier reading the portraits were still in that green reading some half hour or more later.

Vincent O’ Leary 2014

It is impossible to discuss or interpret Jochen Gerz’s work without at the same time responding to major issues on democracy and culture: the right to speak and be heard, and the role of social experience in the public sphere. Yet even though many of his works are, in effect, created by participants, this cannot be described as some kind of democratic art production. The asymmetry between artist and public is not abolished. All actions by the participants are still happening within the framework provided by the artist (Rebentisch 2014, 36). Rather, the democratic power of the artworks lies in the conflicts that the participants address through their contribution, and in the conflicts among themselves, and with the artist that might evolve in the process. In this way Jochen Gerz avoids the pitfalls where the participative work becomes a caricature of democracy (Diederichsen2008, 275) or a new means to increase economic efficiency (Miessen 2010).

Mechtild Manus and Jonathan Vickery 2016

Public authorship / Work in public space

Sneem, Ireland

20 metal signposts (height 265 cm each) with two statements and two photographic portraits of 40 participants, printed on aluminium plaques (60 x 45 cm) installed on the North and South squares of the Village. The portrait and the text of participants are not exhibited side by side.

Here in Paradise is an outdoor exhibition in Sneem’s squares, the centre of a small rural community of approximately 200 inhabitants. The village is a busy tourist destination situated on the southwest coast of Ireland.
During the summer months, Sneem can be the destination of 50 buses a day, with visitors from around the globe. Whatever the reasons for its attraction, no place as small as Sneem shows better the depth of migration and interchange in Europe. Half of its population is made up of “blow-ins”, as locals call residents from abroad. All inhabitants of the village were invited to participate in Here in Paradise and 40 accepted. They were asked three questions:

– If you had, as in the old days, a free wish, what would you wish for Cul Fadda
(the local ghost estate from the Celtic Tiger years)?

– If you had, as in the old days, a free wish, what would you wish for Ireland?

– If you had, as in the old days, a free wish, what would you wish for Europe?

Here in Paradise offers an insight into the mind of contemporary people living, often by choice, far from the cities and their visions for themselves in a “beautiful destination".


40 residents of Sneem


Sneem Tidy Towns, Kerry County Council, Goethe-Institut Irland, Ambassade de France à Dublin, German Embassy Dublin, Peter Zöller (portrait photography)


Sneem, North & South Squares
31.5. - 18.9. 2014
31.6. - 30.9. 2015


I: Sneem 2014, Frankfurt/New York 2016, p. 8

II Darb O’Sullivan 2014, Dunne 2014, Cronin 2014, O’ Leary 2014, Downing 2014

IV: Berlin 2014

V: World Wide Web 2020

VI: Sneem 2014 b

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz