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The Badischer Kunstverein is presenting the New York photographer Collier Schorr (born in 1963) in her first comprehensive solo exhibition in Germany.

Collier Schorr has gained great attention in recent years, among other reasons for her subtle photographs of young identities, at numerous international exhibitions (Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fotomuseum Winterthur).

The selection of her photographs in the Badischer Kunstverein focuses upon a cycle of works in which Collier Schorr examines her relationship to Germany – to its citizens, its landscape, its history.

Collier came to Germany for the first time in 1989. At that time there were still two US-Army bases in Schwäbisch Gmünd. In the meantime, she has come to spend several weeks there each summer in the circle of her girlfriend’s family and friends. It is there that she began with photography.

In her Germany-cycle (since 1995), Collier Schorr achieves the intersection of three temporal levels: everyday contemporary life in Germany, Fascism, and the Vietnam War. At the time when American soldiers were stationed in Germany as a result of the Second World War, thousands of American soldiers were going to war in Vietnam.

Collier Schorr is an American Jew; she was “the only Jew” in Schwäbisch-Gmünd, as she recalls about her first visit there. Ever since then, she has been accompanying various biographies of the place, the young people in their networks of family members and neighbors. For example, there is Herbert, the nephew of her girlfriend, whom she first photographed when he was nine years old. Today he is over twenty.

It is this temporary presence which the young people of Schwäbisch-Gmünd embody and which connects as well as separates them from historical taboos. Collier Schorr photographs male youths in the uniforms of the US Army and of the German Wehrmacht which she ordered from a costume-rental service. The youths slip right into the uniformed identities of ancestors and victors and at the same time assume the self-confident and heroic poses of experienced actors.

Collier Schorr creates unique photographs in this tension between the production of images by today’s media and the ground from which the Holocaust emerged, between symbolical gestures and physical body, between youthful expectation and historical remembrance, as well as in the ambivalent longing of the protagonists for individuality and uniformity.

The first volume Neighbors / Nachbarn from the cycle Forests & Fields has just appeared in Steidl Verlag and is available at the exhibition.