Archive of Fragments

Photo series (ongoing since 2014)

The Archive of Fragments consists of photo series that shed light on the histories of destroyed or abandoned locations. They show important places where people once gathered, such as the timber synagogue in Zhezmer, the Vilna Ghetto, or even cemeteries (as in the series Cricket, No Admission, Untitled, Tahara, and Rachaduras). These kinds of deserted or declining location become spaces of collective remembrance. The focus of this Archive is the disappearance of the communities who used to inhabit such locations—the disappearance, often, of entire generations at once; and, too, the absence of any sign of them in public space, to this day. Missing pieces are intrinsic to this project. Each photo series is regarded as a fragment and archived as a unique and site-specific moment. The locations portrayed vary greatly. While a community once gathered freely in the Zhezmer synagogue, people were forced into the Vilna Ghetto. It can be presumed that the people of Zhezmer were deported to the Vilna Ghetto. These two places are now linked by the gaping void that those who disappeared left behind as well as by the brutality and pain inflicted on them. Over time, individual histories have been superseded by a collective historical narrative, and so meanwhile count as a part of a whole. The photo series Cricket shows a former Jewish cemetery in Mumbai, which is meanwhile nothing but a stony field. Local children use it for cricket. No Admission addresses the location’s accessibility, past and present, and shows how the gravestones are slowly sinking. In parallel, the cemetery is gaining a new lease of life thanks to the caretakers employed there to prevent its demise. The passage of time is evident likewise in the work “ Untitled, for nature leaves its traces on the two graves in the Jewish cemetery on Rat-Beil-Straße in Frankfurt am Main. The photo series Tahara presents the traditional Jewish ritual of cleansing the deceased—the title is the Hebrew word for “ritual purity.” The tahara room portrayed here is part of the no longer intact cemetery for sex workers in Rosario, Argentina. The series Rachaduras show cracks in the tombstones on the Jewish sex workers’ cemetery in Cubatão, Brazil. The focus is on juxtaposing the fragmented nature both of the tombstones and the sex workers’ histories, the latter having sunk into oblivion over the last century. The cemetery serves simultaneously as an archive, albeit one that is gradually collapsing.