Photo postcard, ca. 1915, Collection of the Fotostiftung Schweiz

1914/18 – Pictures from the Border

7 June to 12 October 2014

The years of the border occupation in Switzerland from 1914 to 1918 also left their mark in a particular genre of image and text document: the photo postcard. Sent in their thousands by soldiers to their loved ones at home, these postcards were not simply industrially-produced printed items, they were original photographs, often taken on site by amateurs and enlarged on photographic paper in very small editions: single and group portraits, kitchen or field-hospital scenes, men mixing socially or amusing themselves. The superficial harmlessness of these images makes them seem more like a collective sedative. Yet they also betray how the Great War was actually perceived, what preoccupied people at the everyday level and how they struggled in the face of their powerlessness. In recent years the Fotostiftung Schweiz has compiled more than 1,000 of these touching witnesses of that era, which are now being exhibited for the first time.

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With the generous support of the Federal Department of Culture and Migros Kulturprozent.

1914/18 –
Stephan Schenk,
The Way of the Cross

7 June to 12 October 2014

Parallel to the exhibition “Pictures from the Border”, Stephan Schenk (born 1962) will be showing his work “The Way of the Cross”: 14 photographs of the largest First World War battlefields in Europe and overseas. In each case, Schenk focuses on just a small section of the history-laden soil and in so doing asks whether it is possible at all to visualize the “primal catastrophe of the 20th century” in conventional images. Consequently, he also challenges photography’s presumed objectivity. By weaving his photographs into monumental tapestries, he resorts to traditional forms used for transmitting images. The works hanging on the walls of the exhibition space provide the basis for another associative, emotional and non-documentary form of remembrance culture.

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With the generous support of the Federal Department of Culture, Migros Kulturprozent, Graubündner Kantonalbank, Kulturförderung Kanton Graubünden / Swisslos, the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation, the Lienhard- Hunger Foundation.

Tannenberg, Poland, 2012, from the series «The Way of the Cross» © Stephan Schenk