chapter  7
18 Pages

Haunted Topographies: Landscape Photography as an Act of Remembrance in the Neues Museum, Berlin

The room is noticeably darker. The rest of the exhibition – entitled Russen und Deustche – is brightly light and presented. In contrast this room feels like stepping into personified gloom. It actually takes a while to reorient oneself. Then out of the dark can be discerned five large landscape photographs. In size the photographs almost cover the walls upon which they hang, and their subject matters – such as the ice cracking on a river or a dust of snow on a field of dark, black mud – are rendered in a monumental 1:1 ratio, which in turn creates a sense of immersion. The visitor can feel – I can feel – an absorption in the huge landscapes. There is something disconcerting with the display, a sense of loneliness which cannot be completely ascribed to the half-light of the room. It takes a while to notice, but then it becomes clear; there are no people in the photographs. The huge, bleak landscapes are empty.