demaex - DATUMIERUNG - Photography - x/100 - 2013
1. Family pictures
my mother was born in 1921 in Dogern near Waldshut by the river rhein at the Swiss border. Her comment on the deployment of the german armed forces in afghanistan always is: don t know what the Wehrmachts business is in afghanistan. She herself had to do labour service and was in the Wehrmacht from 1944 on, which led her amongst others as far as Warsaw. Her father was born in 1891, a former grenadier in the Baden regiment in Karlsruhe the regiment protecting the grand Duke of Baden and one of 13 surviving children of a big farming family in the Southern Black Forest.
What does all this have to do with this art box, with these trading pictures dating?
Many years ago i started to record my mothers experiences in the third reich with a dictaphone. the big number of still existing family pictures were very helpful for that, as they brought unexpected stories back to mind; firsthand memories, authentic accounts of contemporary witnesses from her own family.
When, however, contemplating the pictures some time later, i noticed memory lapses, with some pictures i already couldnt remember anything at all. Photography had lost its history, its content, its life. the only thing that was left was the brownish patina of the beautiful old black and white pictures. For me and our family thread too little, meaningless and futile dead.
So my mother and i started to label all photographs available; when was the photograph taken, who is on it and where could the picture have been taken? Some photographs date back to the beginnings of photography when they used to be really exclusive and expensive, for instance back to my paternal great-great-grandparents.
i need my haptic sense. i need and want to be able to touch, feel and comprehend something, also to sense it visually. thats how i work; in an analogue, old-fashioned manner. i want to hold the photographs quite archaically in my hands, knowing
that they are not stored somewhere in an attic cryptically parameterised.
in 2008 i bought my first digital compact camera and tried to print the accomplished photographs in an appealing way.
after searching for a while i found the form ideal to me: autograph cards - printouts in the size of postcards. i used the classic presentation of autograph cards of actors and actresses from the twenties till fourties of the company ross in Berlin/germany as an inspiration. the german rock and pop band Kraftklub would sing today: the dating cards are retro and not vintage.
3. autograph cards Publisher ross
archiving my own family history. my mother in Warsaw with the Wehrmacht, my father as a soldier in the Wehrmacht in the Caucasus generated an automatic interest in this time. How did they behave, are they guilty -, if so, how much guilti? How would i have behaved back then, how would i have lived?
and at some point i happened to come across the autograph cards of publisher ross, i cant remember how. ross-cards have been exposed, developed and fixed on real photobase paper. the front shows the actor or actress with his/her name. One could order these cards and send them to the actors and actresses, asking for an autograph.
another part of this merchandising of the publisher ross consisted in the distribution of trading cards and the corresponding albums through cigarette companies. Small real-photographs of known actors and actresses were enclosed in cigarette boxes. these ones could be stuck into the album and collected.
in this context the demaex-trading cards can exclusively be seen and bought for the first time. i take pictures of myself, my surroundings, my family and have been making autograph cards from them since 2008. So far this work hasnt been published. artsurprise brings us now full cirlce: trading cards from the art-cigarette machine.
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