Beyond Cold War is based on the examination of confrontation areas of the Cold War in Europe. Border regions on which the NATO states and those of the Warsaw Pact stood face to face to each other. During the Cold War the observers were always observed, too. The feeling of observing and simultaneously being observed, the assumed harassment through the antagonist, the alertness and awaiting (action and reaction) are the central starting points of my work. For both sides there was the question about the world behind the border, because both were stamped by massive cultural and political differences, laboured by analogous propaganda.
Excerpt from the essay «On borders» by Fabian Knierim
“[…] We also find ourselves dealing with sites of memory in the photographs of Robert Schlotter. The project’s premise identifies the landscapes in terms of sites where history has taken place and we instinctively set out in search of its remnants. The compositions of the images encourage us to do so. A path or a street often leads into the distance of the pictorial space and invites viewers to follow its course, to look for clues along the way and to make sense out of them. And we certainly do not end up emptyhanded. Thus, a dome-shaped building — perhaps a surveillance station — rises up above the wooden houses of a Scandinavian town. At the edge of a forest path, we seem to recognise the remnants of anti-tank barriers; half-buried pieces of concrete make us think of the ruins of bunkers. However, the clues are rarely so unambiguous that we can be certain of their significance. Do the tyre tracks leading into the forest mark the path of a border patrol? What is to be made of the structure on top of the garage with the yellow door? Is the barbed wire fence in a clearing the remains of a secured border or just a fence surrounding a piece of land? It looks too formidable for the latter, but seems almost ridiculously inadequate for the former. Is this supposed to be the Iron Curtain? At the places where the representatives of two systems spent decades suspiciously eyeing one another, our gaze becomes paranoid itself. […]”
published in: Beyond Cold War, Halle (Saale) 2014, ISBN 978-3-95462-411-9
Jürgen Kühner on «Beyond Cold War»
“[…] Schlotter’s photographs only take effect at second glance. It is only through the context that they change from generic landscape photographs to a socio-political analysis with the conclusion that borders can run anywhere and at any time, that no structures are needed to separate countries and people.”
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