Damian Heinisch har gjort en fotografisk reise sin egen families historie. NoPlace viser i utstillingen «Erde, Wind, Feuer» første del av det omfattende prosjektet. Vi har snakket med Heinisch om utstillingen:
En sentral del av utstillingen er en grufull beretning fra hverdagen i arbeidsleir, ført i pennen våren 1945 av din egen bestefar. Han er blant de 60.000 deporterte som aldri kom tilbake fra leiren i Donetsk-distriktet i Ukraina. Hva fikk deg til å lage en utstilling om denne mørke siden av din egen familiehistorie og vår felles kulturhistorie?
It was a calling. Too me this isn´t dark, and the project is not about darkness. One sometimes comes to a point in ones life when one need to reflect on your situation, and the reasons for this situation, so channelizing these identity questions I used photography because it´s the media I control.
The project didn´t start in Ukraine, but outside my doorstep here in Oslo at Carl Berner. I realised that I carried with me pictures from the WW2, a pictorial language that I inherited from the generations I grew up with, and these generations witnessed the WW2 from the beginning, since the war started in Gliwice where my family came from. Photography made a big turn for me, and became much more psychological recently. It became a medium where I could project my feelings upon the world. It was at the same time important to localise these images and get rid of them, at the moment you push the button, it leaves your body, but not your spirit. In that sense photography becomes a cleansing method.
You grow up with a lot of images, especially as a child. Your eyes are open, and you have no filters, and you don´t have the necessary tools to process this. When the time comes when you have the ability you have to deal with that, not only on an intellectual level, but a practical one too. You realise that you have a responsibility to history, and in my case a personal responsibility to my father and grandfather. This thought is about going back in time and see things for the second time in your life. This is to respect something. Respect is a latin word, that means «look again.» No one in my family had the ability to travel to his grave and say goodbye. So I did this on behalf of his children, my father and my aunt.
I utstillingen kombinerer du historisk materiale etterlatt av din egen bestefar, blant annet et familefotografi hvor han står bak kamera, med fotografier du har laget under en reise til området der din bestefar døde. Hvilke tanker har du rundt å benytte et tidsbasert medium som fotografi, til å formidle spor av en historie som ligger nesten 75 år tilbake i tid?
Photography was always an important part of my family. For my father it was a medium to earn money for his family, because of the socialist system which punished him for wanting to leave to West-Germany, not allowing him to work. For my grandfather it was passion- It´s a joy for me to go through his archive, which he left for his family, and I´m the guardian of this legacy now. I´m actually very proud to show the image he took of his family in the exhibition, because I see that he has ability and sensitivity concerning how the world around him was supposed to be viewed. It is somehow the first image in this project, and without a doubt to me one of the most beautiful ones.
Photography today has turned democratic, everyone relates to it all the time every day. I think it´s a brilliant medium to transport lost awareness back into our time. At the same time it allows you to localise your feelings into a two dimensional space. Sometimes it´s not important what you see, but how you see what you see.
I utstillingen har du benyttet deg av en gammel og strevsom teknikk for å lage fargefotografier, også kjent som tricolour-teknikken. Hva er dette og hvilke resultater har det gitt for bildene?
On all of four places I work on this project I use a different technical approach. It´s basically reflected in the historical happening, and decided on the question of authenticity. In Norway I used the highest digital format, since it´s the most contemporary of all places and situations. In Poland I decided for 35 mm colour film, since it was the format that surrounded me when I grew up. In Germany where I photographed my fathers every day life, I used black and white, since it´s tightly connected to his dramatic life in Poland.
Finally in Ukraine I decided to travel with a large format camera, since it´s the part of the journey that goes farthest back in time. Large format is the birth of photography. It demands from you a physical involvement, and force you to consider and work slow. I needed to earn my images. The tricolour technique was invented by the Russian Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin Gorsky, and is the first attempt to see photography in colour. I found it motivating to use this technique on a Russian influenced territory. It is a very fragile and demanding process, but I felt it was the right way to use on a ground where many people lost their lives, and unfortunately still suffer, and die today.
Furthermore it reflects the process the Silesians were forced into, most of them worked in coal mines, and coal turned into gold by selling it. Symbolically black and white films turn trough the tricolour technique into colour, and the purest way to see.
Utstillingen er første del av et større prosjekt som er planlagt å ende i en bokutgivelse. Hvor vil du utvikle prosjektet videre? Vil det selvbiografiske utgangspunktet i din egen families historie fremdeles stå sentralt?
In the past four years I have travelled through Europe tracing the tracks of my family and their history. All the photographs are basically done. There is not one centre in this project. There are four centres. My hope is that through this project the viewer is not just to see my family history, but get a universal depth through the project, and become more interested in their own legacy in history. This will lead to a book and larger exhibitions. The archive is massive, and now I try to create a distance to the whole project, because I want to treat it objectively. In the nearest future Kristian Skylstad, who as well visited and worked in the birth town of my grandfather, will interview me about all four projects. NoPlace and me are also working for getting a larger part of the project in Ukraine exhibited in a Silesian museum, where it belongs.
Utstillingen «Erde, Wind, Feuer» vises på NoPlace til og med søndag 07.12.
Om Oslo Fotokunstskole:
Oslo Fotokunstskole tilbyr to-årig utdanning i fotokunst i hjertet av Oslo. På fotoskolen kan du utvikle ditt eget fotografiske språk med noen av landets beste fotokunstnere som lærere og gjestelærere. Oslo Fotokunstskole er en kunstskole i Oslo for deg som ønsker å utforske dine kreative evner i et engasjerende og dynamisk miljø. I løpet av skolens første år er det fokus på analog fotografi og studentene har god tilgang til mørkerom i både farge og svart/hvitt. Den tekniske undervisningen fordyper seg under skolens andre år i digital fotografi, etterbehandling, printing etc. Skolen ble etablert i 1989 og holder til i lyse og velutstyrte lokaler ved Alexander Kiellands Plass. Utdanningen er godkjent for stipend og lån fra Lånekassen.