The lakeside town of Klausen

September 4th - October 30rd 2021


Stadtmuseum Klausen | Museo Civico di Chiusa
Frag Via Fraghes 1 | 39043 Klausen Chiusa 


9 August 1921 - a fateful day for Klausen that had a decisive influence on the history of the town. On that Tuesday in August 100 years ago, a terrible catastrophe struck Chiusa when, after a violent hailstorm above Latzfons, the Thinnebach flooded large parts of the town, damming the Eisack River back into a lake and turning Chiusa into a "lake town" for several months.

The exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary presents a selection of sometimes unknown pictures of this catastrophe from the holdings of the municipal archives as well as the Municipal Museum of Chiusa, including some new acquisitions. The selected historical photographs were taken by the photographers Theodor Forstner from Klausen, Rudolf Largajolli, Wilhelm Müller, Matthäus Planinschek and Josef March from Brixen as well as Josef Flatscher and Hans Geiger from Bozen. They captured the days, weeks and months after the catastrophe in numerous black-and-white photographs, which often cannot be denied a certain aesthetic quality. The large-format photo reproductions are complemented by examples of artistic confrontations with the Klausner catastrophe.

The exhibition was conceived by the cultural scientist Jutta Profanter in cooperation with the city archivist Christoph Gasser. The curator has worked out three narratives from the images of the catastrophe, each of which has its own exhibition space. The first narrative first emphasises the powerlessness of humans in the face of the unleashed forces of nature. The corresponding images illustrate the extent of the destruction, whether it be the initial muddy city or the subsequent floods. The two following narratives, on the other hand, focus on the human way of dealing with the catastrophe. On the one hand, the pictures illustrate how jetties, rafts and boats made everyday life possible in this exceptional situation, what life was like in the midst of the catastrophe, how it became manageable. On the other hand, the pictures show people removing the damage and restoring order, thus overcoming the disaster. Cooperation in the necessary clean-up work and the construction of two canals to drain the water as soon as possible, but also solidarity are the central themes here.

The diverse images of the disaster have a considerable historical documentary value and furthermore exert a certain fascination on the viewer to this day. They are not only an impressive reminder of the past, but also demonstrate the constant potential danger posed by supposedly small streams and rivers.

The curator Jutta Profanter, Klausen, studied at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and at the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza". As part of her doctoral thesis, she is working on the topic of the Klausner flood disaster of 1921. Most recently, she was a research assistant on the two-year research project "Der Saltner - Amtsperson und Kunstfigur" (The Saltner - Official Person and Art Figure) at the South Tyrolean Wine Museum in Kaltern.


Site Plan Chiusa / Klausen