Vaterland Fotos

2005 - 2007


Son of man, you cannot say, or guess,
for you know only a heap of broken images,
[…] and the dead tree gives no shelter.
(Thomas S. Eliot, The Waste Land)
In the German language you can find two different words whose meaning is “Fatherland”: the first definition is Heimat, pointing out what we can call our inner involvement and linked to a sense of nostalgia for the land of our childhood, a land that is in some way always lost. The second term is Vaterland: the country or the nation of origin. The latter one is pregnant of a patriotic connotation never lost in the rethoric of the several regimes, which followed one another throughout German history.
I was brought up in a small village in the Sachsen-Anhalt. My father was born in Halle 80 years ago and he still lives nearby. My dad is the only member in our family who still lives there. According to this personal circumstance, raised in me the impulse of a research which I called Vaterland – intending this word in a literal and personal sense as “the land of the father”. It is the land I visit, from time to time, since it is the place where my dad lives.
Sachsen-Anhalt is a region in the middle of Germany (ex DDR) that, as a result of the reunification of Eastern and Western Germany, has ceased to be a great industrial and agricultural area. In fact, most of its productive system has never been replaced by new comparable structures. Consequently, unless the new impulses brought by the new society, this area is still in a social, economical and urban decay. Just a couple of figures to reveal the present situation in Sachsen-Anhalt:
at the moment, almost 20% of unemployment. The biggest town, Halle, which counted before the 90s, 324,000 inhabitants, has now only 237,000 inhabitants
the whole region has lost, in the same period of time, almost 19% of the population. Between 1990 to 2000, the number of persons, who are employed, has decreased by 46% and still keeps dropping. As a consequence, villages and small towns seem to be empty, people locked in, watching TV even during the day; one might think of a region fallen into oblivion.
If you cross the Sachsen-Anhalt and talk, by chance, to people, you may perceive desolation, deep sadness and above all, the lack of hope, just from the ones unable to recover their own roots, even though, they continue to live in the homeland.
In the last decades the Sachsen-Anhalt region has experienced a drastic change in its structures, its population, its work system and this transformation should stay as an example for the other European regions which have to face with similar conditions, brought about by the world economy.
My intention is to show a social and at the same time a personal situation, by connecting a documentary content and the research of an appropriate artistic language.
This project is the sequel of a route that one can define of “artistic documentation”, which lately has led myself to portray neglected and negligible themes and places, in short, to give an “image” to places which are going to disappear. Places like Sachsen-Anhalt, only known by the world through the media which show neo-Nazi movements or something like that, and later on fallen into a complete oblivion. This kind of artistic documentation, on the contrary, tends to go beyond the news and tries to stimulate reflections on the possible causes.