In late autumn 1974, Werner Herzog walked from Munich to Paris. In the logbook of his journey he mentioned the village I grew up in and that I had left a few months before he passed through it. His three words in Vom Gehen im Eis / Of Walking in Ice are possibly the only literary mention of the village. Forty-two years later I repeated one leg of Werner Herzog’s walk, from Burgfelden to Dotternhausen. Just like him, I passed through the village I grew up in without stopping. Vom Gehen is my report of the walk. 2017
digital print, b/w
14.8 x 10.5 cm, 72 pages
softcover, perfect bound
In late autumn 1974, Werner Herzog walked from Munich to Paris. In the logbook of his journey he mentioned the village I grew up in and that I had left a few months before he passed through it. His three words in Vom Gehen im Eis / Of Walking in Ice are possibly the only literary mention of the village. Forty-two years later I repeated one leg of Werner Herzog’s walk, from Burgfelden to Dotternhausen. Just like him, I passed through the village I grew up in without stopping. Vom Gehen is my report of the walk. Sixteen pigment ink prints, 30 x 40 cm each, edition of 3 copies + 1 AP
Bilder von der Straße (Pictures from the Street) is a thirty-year project which began in 1982 and ended in 2012. During this time I picked up one thousand lost or abandoned photographs from the world’s pavements. Although the collection has been exhibited widely, this is the first time it is printed as a complete set. Published in four volumes, the books present every found photograph or its fragments in their original size and in the chronological order they were discovered. No artistic intervention has taken place except for the inclusion of the date and location where each picture was found. As well as providing a record of my travels, the books document people’s use and abuse of photographs, with almost all the photographs in the collection depicting people and more than half of these being ripped or defaced in some way.
This act of discarding or destroying individual photographs seems to point to a desire to eliminate memories of specific moments in people’s lives. By encouraging viewers to imagine the stories of the people depicted, the project raises questions about the emotionally-charged events that could warrant such destruction. I consider this collection to be a social documentary consisting of both visual artefacts and human documents. Produced in a systematic manner, it is an inventory of lost photographs and memories that hint at the mysteries of people’s private lives and at their attempts to document and destroy them. 2012 (the 2009 Blurb edition is discontinued)
print on demand, colour
29.7 x 21 cm, 4 volumes in a box, 256 pages each
softcover, perfect bound
^ From Photographic Garbage Survey Project, Report No.2
^ Goethe-Institut, Galerie Condé, Paris 1996
For nearly fifteen years I’ve been collecting all photographs I’m finding in the street. Each photograph becomes part of the ongoing project Pictures from the Street. In the beginning, collecting this garbage was a casual activity, however, it slowly turned into an obsession. The longer I’ve been doing it and the more photographs I’ve been finding the more my way of perception changed. Now I don’t find photographs any more, I look for them – just like a truffle pig. Indeed I think that the nearly 400 photographs I have found so far are a treasure. Some of them are extremely fascinating images (mankind would have lost them irretrievably without my intervention) and the entire group forms a unique compendium of photographic garbage, an anti-museum. While museums collect and preserve those pictures which according to our society’s consensus are important samples of our present culture and should be kept for the future, I’m specialising in those images which obviously are considered so unsuitable and irritating that their makers and owners think they should not have any future at all. These images represent the other half of our culture.
In 1996 I started the Photographic Garbage Survey Project in order to collect and preserve thrown away photographs systematically. I travel to selected cities all over the world and stay there for some days or weeks. Every day I go for an erratic walk through another part of the city in order to collect all abandoned photographs. The result of these inspection tours is a report for each city consisting of the found photographs, a list of discovery sites, maps with the inspected streets marked, and a statistical evaluation. Altogether these reports form an international compendium of photographic pollution in modern cities. The project started in Vigo (May 1996). Subsequent cities include Paris (June 1996), Berlin (August 1996), Zurich (September 1996), São Paulo (November 1996), San Francisco (February 1997), and Rotterdam (July 1997).
JS, Berlin, August 1996
(Statement for the catalogue of the VII Fotobienal, Vigo 1996)