Ideologies. "Us and Them"
5 June to 19 September 2021
Deutsche Börse AG, The Cube, Eschborn
The exhibition "Us and Them" is part of the photo triennal RAY 2021 taking place in Frankfurt and in the Rhine-Main region.
It transports the viewer to various communities whose identity formation follows the principle of demarcation and thus, of exclusion. The mechanisms employed to nurture a sense of belonging, strength and control range from the establishment of comprehensive security systems to the creation of myths and the evocation of enemy images to be fought against.
In his series “Kontakt”, Máté Bartha (*1987, HU) portraits military summer camps in Hungary for children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18. Camping out in the open air, they hike, sing together and receive military training with replica weapons. The programme, which demands strict discipline from its participants, sometimes includes punishments such as push-ups, and may also result in bruises. The camps are intended to instil camaraderie and patriotism in the girls and boys, as well as a sense of belonging to a strong community.
Working as a photographer in North Korea is almost impossible. Ruled by an aggressive leader, the country censors all incoming as well as all outgoing information. Despite these adversities, Eddo Hartmann (*1973, NL) officially visited North Korea four times between 2014 and 2017 and took photographs in the capital Pyongyang. The images of his project “Setting the Stage” show a metropolis, charged with imposing symbolism and built in accordance with the socialist ideal. The city appears cold and deserted, but above all serves as a curious stage set for the self-created myth of the authoritarian regime.
The so-called “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) is responsible for the racially motivated killing of nine people in Germany between 2000 and 2007, and numerous other crimes. It was not until 2013 that the trial against the right-wing extremist terrorist group, which had long gone undetected, began. At that time, Hamburg photographer Paula Markert (*1982, D) started to work on her project “A Journey through Germany. The NSU series of murders”. In her work, she documents people and places associated with the group, thus creating multi-layered imagery of the inconceivable events and their processing by state institutions, the latter of which remains questionable to this day.
For most people, any mention of Switzerland conjures up images of a peaceful alpine idyll in the heart of Europe. However, in the publication “How to Secure a Country” by Salvatore Vitale (*1986, I), it reveals a different side of itself, that of a highly militarised state permeated by a far-reaching security system and safety-mindedness. In observations collected over many years, Vitale’s visual research project details the way his adopted country deals with military border security, IT infrastructure, cyber-crime and terrorism.
Installation shots "Us and them"
The Cube Eschborn, 2021 © Robert Schittko