Never Come Back

CAMERA Simon Veroneg

PRODUCTION steirischer herbst ’22, Assaf Gruber and Eyal Vexler
EDITING Janina Herhoffer and Assaf Gruber
SOUND Lukas Benedicic, Jochen Jezussek

CAST AND MUSIC Rudi Katholnig

Assaf Gruber | Austria | 2023 | 17’

A mysterious protagonist tentatively plays a familiar melody. It's a song known to many, recognizable from dance floors across Europe—but how many of us have ever bothered to listen to the song’s notably imperialistic lyrics?

In the documentary film "Never Come Back," Gruber's exploration of museum depots uncovers a hidden world where objects remain shielded from simplistic historical interpretations. This journey delves into the concealed spaces behind art institutions, focusing on collections at the Neue Galerie Graz. Within a cage-like repository, a scene unfolds—a naked musician is engrossed in composing, drawing inspiration from artists who exist in the nuanced intersection between modernist ideals and a troubling affinity for Nazism. Their creations intertwine exoticism, local pride, religious passion and erotic undertones. As viewers traverse this immersive gallery walk, akin to a game of associations, they gradually recognize the vastness of the concealed meanings and contexts just below the surface.


ASSAF GRUBER (b. 1980) is a Berlin-based sculptor and filmmaker who explores the impact of legacy on individuals via blurred-reality narratives in photography, sculpture and installations. His films have featured in Rotterdam (2023) and FID Marseille (2022). He has completed studies at The Cooper Union, the Beaux-Arts de Paris and HISK.