Die Gänse vom Feliferhof

The Geese of Feliferhof

Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz

CR 125. Year 1996

Die Gänse Vom Feliferhof 3
Die Gänse Vom Feliferhof 4
Die Gänse Vom Feliferhof 2
Die Gänse Vom Feliferhof 5
Die Gänse Vom Feliferhof Copy

Courage is punishible by death

Treason will be decorated

Barbarism is the soldier's bride

Soldiers we are called, too

This project was based on the idea that it could only survive and function as long as the recruits carried out certain activities at the Feliferhof: … This constant engagement was supposed to function as a kind of “early warning system” analogous to the geese in the Capitol in Ancient Rome, or as Jochen Gerz expressed it: “On the day that Austria undergoes some kind of political change, this work will obviously no longer be sustainable. It will disappear.”

Heimo Halbrainer 2016

The presence and absence of the flags are thus dependent on the presence and absence of the military, making the concept action-related. The readability of the text and thus its efficacy is dependent on whether there is (a desire for) remembrance or not. In this way, the present (not only the presence of the flags) is dependent on the awareness of remembrance and the preparedness to remember. Between remembering and forgetting there lies a necessary decision-making process. It is not the four flags but the process that constitutes the work, “the whole.”

Werner Fenz 2016


Work in public space (not realized)

Four flagpoles positioned at intervals of 10 m, four white flags with text printed in red 

Information booth. 

The project proposed by Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz is recommended for realization by the jury judging the competition for the construction of a memorial for the civilian victims of executions at the Feliferhof military rifle range between 1941 and 1945. The proposal calls for four flags showing the texts Auf Mut steht der Tod / Verrat am Land wird dekoriert / Barbarei ist die Soldatenbraut / Soldaten so heißen wir auch (Courage is punishible by death / Treason will be decorated / Barbarism is the soldier's bride / Soldiers we are called, too) to be raised and lowered daily by soldiers on the grounds of the Feliferhof. At the end of this period, the young soldiers are to create their own flags to be used for one year. All flags are to be exhibited later at the Army History Museum in Vienna. Although represented on the jury that unanimously decides the realization of the concept by the commander of the Steiermark region, military authorities later block the realization.


I: Bolzano 1999, p. 131. Wien 2016, pp. 59-63

II: art 12/96, p. 124. Fetka 1996. Fleck 1996. Fricke 1996. Leising/Müller 1996. Metzger 1996. Müller 1996. Red. 36, 1996. Red. 37, 1996. Wimmer 1996. Kunstzeitung 1/1997. Fetka 1997. Fleck 1997. Haase 1, 1997. Louis 1997, p. 3. Metzger 1+2, 1997. Titz 1-4, 1996. Schmid 4, 1997, p. 19. Wagner 1, 1997. Wailand 1996, p. 24. Reininghaus 1999, p. 118

III: Der Standard, 21.10.1996. Fleck 1996.

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz