Heimat - Heinz Berggruen C-Print: 70 x 130 in. (180 x 330 cm)
contemporary jewish life in germany. a taboo? an incomprehensible paradox? it is for some, viewed within the context of german history. yet how do jewish berliners feel, and how do they see themselves and their fellow germans? how does the past weigh on the present?
using emotions generated by words to create images
taking photography off the representational plane by peeling away the surface layers of appearance to reveal an inner meaning. a multidimensional interpretation of an interior emotional landscape.
jewish berliners from both public and private life respond to three words chosen from the list
dr. rafael seligmann
prof. dr. julius schoeps
Heinz Berggruen, art dealer and collector
home - heimat, freedom - freiheit, longing - sehnsucht
a photographic work about meaning and transformation
the voices on the recorded dialogs serve as the impulse for the photographs. emotional and intuitive meaning are extracted and transformed into allegorical or abstract images.
Irretrievable lost - Unwiederbringlich, 2006-2017, C-Print: 60 x 87 in. (152 x 221 cm)
an art exhibition, and a public art installation
the work will appear as an art exhibition containing narrative elements from the recordings. a public art installation will complete the project.
a creative partnership with the participants
My experience with the 9/11 terror attack in New York City was the turning point for dramatic changes in my life. After working as a recognized fashion and portrait photographer in New York City for more than 20 years, I felt the need to reinvent myself as an artist outside of the fashion world.
In 2004, Berlin was the first change of scenery that initiated the hoped-for transformation. I immediately became interested in the Jewish life in Berlin. Shortly afterwards I began a project with the great help of the Jewish community outlined in this document.
At the same time, personal questions about growing up in Germany after World War II increased and the project became much more complex than I had ever imagined. At times my emotions got out of hand and I struggled on all sides except within the Jewish Community, where I felt great comfort.
After finishing my interviews and the necessary research in Berlin, I came to the conclusion that it is better to finish this project over a longer period. It took me time to figure out how to translate voices into pictures or portraits, which was uncharted territory for me in photography. I also had the feeling that, except within the Jewish community in Germany, there was no willingness to address the issues I heard in my interviews. For instance, the concern of the increased violence against the Jewish Community, or addressing in public the European “Le rapport non publié sur l’antisémitisme en Europe 2002” gave me the feeling of Don Quixote. In order to continue this project, I recognized the need for further research on this subject. Over the years I have traveled extensively and worked regularly in Lanzarote to take photographs for this project.
Jewish life in Europe.
Growing up in Germany in the 50s/60s/70s.
Travel for exploratory photographs and research:
Germany, Poland, Spain, Lanzarote, Ireland, England, France, USA.
Twenty two hours of sound recordings.
Roughly 450 exploratory photographs.
This project became the blueprint for how I create most photographic works today.
© Klaus Laubmayer
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