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Sandra Schäfer: Contaminated Landscapes

10.12.2021, 6 pm

11.12.2021 – 27.2.2022

Opening hours
Tue – Sun and bank holidays, 10 am – 6 pm
Closed 24.12., 25.12.
1.1.2022 open from 1 pm – 6 pm

Curated by
Reinhard Braun

Exhibition display
ifau – Institut für angewandte Urbanistik

Graphic display
Wolfgang Schwärzler

We extend our thanks to the MUSEUM FOLKWANG, ESSEN, and to the Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, for the August Sander loans.

Kontaminierte Landschaften (Contaminated Landscapes) deals with the region where Sandra Schäfer grew up: the Westerwald, a rural area located roughly one hour away from Cologne. Three camera-related perspectives on the agricultural landscape and the day-to-day life of its residents are the subject of the work: that of the Cologne-based photographer August Sander starting in circa 1910, the amateur perspective of her great-uncle from the 1930s to the 1960s, and her own perspective on and from the present. The bringing-together of these different viewpoints shows the resonating spaces that result from different representations, contexts, and memories. Schäfer is interested in different contemporary witnesses and how they are interconnected: How do the individuals portrayed talk about these pictures? What knowledge exists about the photographer and his approach? What do the photographs make visible, what do they omit, and what do they conceal? What relationships with the present do the specters of the past enter into? If, as Didier Eribon determines in his book Returning to Reims, return in a proper sense is not possible: What does it mean for Schäfer to travel to the Westerwald in order to realize this artistic work?

Sandra Schäfer, Kontaminierte Landschaften
(Contaminated Landscapes), 2021