Westerwald: Eine Heimsuchung (Westerwald: A Visitation), Sandra Schäfer
2-channel video installation, 4K to HD, 43:40 min, 2021
Based on August Sander’s series of Westerwald farmers, Berlin artist Sandra Schäfer tackles the transformation of the rural region, in which she grew up in, in her video installation Westerwald – Eine Heimsuchung (Westerwald – A Visitation). Schäfer juxtaposes August Sander’s perspective with her own contemporary view. For it is also about how a region, its landscape and agricultural use have changed over the course of time.
In her artistic work, Schäfer is interested in the various contemporary forms of witnessing and their entanglements: How do the relatives/portrait subjects speak about the (artistic/documentary) pictures by August Sander? What does it mean to hear the dialect that also marks a class difference? What knowledges exist about the photographer and his approach? How does this differ from that of photo curators in the museum context? And what does it mean for the artist, who was born and raised in this region, to return to create an artistic work?
The confrontation with the concrete landscape raises the question of what the depiction from different perspectives and the reaction it evokes means and causes. Consequentially, it is also about how landscape, with all its political implications, sediments as a “visitation”.
Installation view: Contaminated Landscapes, Camera Austria, Graz (2021), photographer: Markus Krottendorfer