Christian HartardWorksResearch, Texts, de

All the Wrong Lessons, Phantom, Prothesis, Traveller, Study for a Head, Monument, Untitled (Necklace), Parallels (Milk)Less Work for Mother, Doors (from Memory), Empire, Where I Lived, and What I Lived For, How to Disappear Completely, Cabin, Untitled (Fountain), Untitled (Pendulum), Wire Mother, Father Sings, Intra12 Hz, 37°C, Ghost, Garda

Less Work for Mother

Pigment print on paper from an original photograph by Karl Schuhmann (1940 / 41), passe-partout, visible cutout 7.8 x 5 cm, framed
22 x 33.5 cm

From 1940 on, Hartheim castle near Linz functioned as one of the six extermination centres involved in the Nazi euthanasia programme. In these centres, people with physical, mental and psychological impairments were systematically killed. By the official end of the programme known as ʻAction T4ʼ in 1941, over 18,000 patients from German and Austrian psychiatric and mental health care facilities had been murdered in Hartheim alone. In the area around Munich, it was patients from the Eglfing-Haar Mental Institution (today the Isar-Amper Clinic), under the director Hermann Pfannmüller in particular, who were deported to Hartheim, having been deemed “unworthy of life.” One of those patients was my great aunt Barbara (Babette) Hartard, born in 1895. She worked in Speyer, Munich and Heidelberg as a maid and was admitted to Eglfing with the diagnosis schizophrenia in 1924. According to the Eglfing transport list from September 3, 1940 she was brought to Hartheim on that day along with 120 other women. She died a few days later in the gas chamber. Shortly after the Hartheim Extermination Centre was established, a neighbor of the castle secretly photographed the smoking crematorium chimney. This picture is the only document that shows the killing machinery in operation. In the exhibition, the largest portion of the image is concealed by the passe-partout; only the smoke from burning bodies streaming out of the chimney remains visible in the cut-out. // From the nineteen-thirties on, ʻLess Work for Motherʼ was the slogan for Horn and Hardart Co. in Philadelphia and New York, the largest American restaurant chain of its time. One of the companyʼs founders was a distant cousin to Barbara (Babette) Hartard: Frank A. Hardart (Franz Anton Hardart), who was born in the Palatinate in 1850 and emigrated to the USA as a child. He established the signature feature of the company, the ʻHorn and Hardart Automatsʼ, waiterless restaurants in which the customers were able to operate glass dispensers themselves which opened at the back for filling and at the front when a coin was inserted. The employees, who were still required for operating the automats, disappeared behind what were seemingly self-operating devices. The product of their work is presented and at the same time the employees are made invisible.


Exhibition ,Less Work for Motherʻ, Museum Villa Stuck Munich, 2018 / Photo: Jann Awerverser