Arwed Messmer

RAF. No Evidence / Kein Beweis

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Arwed Messmer
RAF. No Evidence / Kein Beweis

Text(s) by Florian Ebner, Uta Grundman, Arwed Messmer, graphic design by Carsten Eisfeld

German, English

2017. 136 pp., 135 ills.

softcover, with an insert of 48 pages

23.80 x 34.00 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-4346-4

A new perspective on a traumatic chapter in German history

Numerous accounts of the RAF and the German Autumn in 1977 have been chronicled over the past forty years, from journalistic, historical, literary, cinematic, and artistic perspectives. Arwed Messmer begins with the various photographs made by police photographers at the time—pictures of demonstrators, crime scene images, and mug shots. He poses the question of how this past search for criminological evidence can be employed artistically. His narrative strikes an arc from the beginnings of the movement to the multiple eruptions of violence in 1977, the abduction and murder of Hanns-Martin Schleyer, and the suicides of Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, and Jan-Carl Raspe in Stammheim Prison. Messmer’s work therefore also has an ethical dimension: which photographs can be shown, how can they be shown, and why do we want to see them? This investigation touches a key point in the debate on images that are on the one hand historical documents, and on the other hand embodiments of their own aesthetic with powerful potential for an empathetic examination of history.

Exhibition: Museum Folkwang, Essen: 9.6.–3.9.2017 / in cooperation with the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim: 9.9.– 5.11.2017

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