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PAINTED/STAINED/CHARRED

Violent turning points of modern history provide topics for several of my bodies of work. Painted/Stained is part of a larger project, Seeing Memorials. The photographs question legibility – of memorials and preserved sites and also of the histories they represent.

The surfaces in the images are from camps in four countries – Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Austria. In most cases it is not clear how they relate to the Nazi era, as these sites often had later uses, as refugee camps or barracks, before being preserved as museums. Is the blue paint on the windows at Breendonk wartime blackout? Were the walls at other camps repainted, postwar or during preservation efforts? The rust stains at Bełżec are there by design – as part of a huge memorial constructed at the site of the death camp (the original structures were dismantled and removed by the Nazis). Do they speak to us differently than other surfaces that may or may not be original? How can we look at these places, or representations of them, and what do we see?

The final four images were made in Idaho shortly after and in response to my first visit to Holocaust sites.

 

1. Urinal. Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

2. Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

3. Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp. Germany

4. Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp. Germany

 

5. Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

6. Bełżec Death Camp, Poland

7. Bełżec Death Camp, Poland

8. Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

9. Breendonk Fortress Prison Camp. Belgium

10. Breendonk Fortress Prison Camp. Belgium

11. Breendonk Fortress Prison Camp. Belgium

12 Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

13. Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

14. Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

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