Land, Besitz und Commons

© Gisela Erlacher

Olga Chernysheva (3)
The Song, 2021
Installation, wood, engraving

The railway that still runs between Semmering and Trieste passes close bythe town of Duino, where Rainer Maria Rilke once stayed. The starting point of this work is a little known poem that Rilke wrote in Russian. The Face (Nikolaustag, 1900) is both a declaration of love and a farewell poem for Lou Andreas-Salomé. Because a German translation was never published, the poem remained absent from the German language. This installation is located below the iconic reading room of the former Kurhaus (spa resort), where many words have touched people’s minds. The Face is delicately engraved in Cyrillic letters in the wooden surface. Like a hidden secret, it can be felt with the fingers and understood by some. Rilke sounds different in Russian: His words are formed as if by a child and the imagery is of familiar and simple things. It is a poetic exchange between two mother tongues of syllables and words, oscillating between meanings and different ways of understanding. While no one knows for sure whether Rilke visited the Semmering, his words have now found their way here.

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