Following the collapse of the Allied anti-Hitler coalition, the “Cold War” dominated political events in the post-war period up to 1989/90. There were repeated threats of direct military confrontation between the superpowers USA and Soviet Union and thus also the danger of a global nuclear war. The conflict was primarily due to irreconcilable ideological differences.
What is left from this era? The Dutch photographer Martin Roemers impressively documents the structural and topographical remains of the East-West conflict in Europe. The Haus der Geschichte in Bonn is showing a selection of around 70 of the artist’s photographs in the museum’s foyer and underground station gallery from 16 May to 26 August 2018.
The photos were taken between 1998 and 2009 in ten countries, including states which belonged to the Soviet Union such as Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania, former eastern bloc nations such as Poland and Czechoslovakia as well as Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The images take the observer to abandoned army bases and bunker complexes, technical installations and monitoring facilities but also commemorative sites. The relics of the Red Army on the territory of the former GDR and the bunker and monitoring facilities installed at enormous expense are a key feature of Martin Roemers’ photos.
The exhibition brings together various photo series by Roemers on the architectural traces left by decades of confrontation between the political systems across Europe: preserved murals in former Soviet barracks, rusting disused tanks, decommissioned aircraft and spent ammunition in the former military restricted zone. Roemers’ photos clearly show that the Cold War was a conflict between two systems which at the same time also produced similar functional relics on both sides of the “Iron Curtain”.
Martin Roemers, born in the Dutch town of Oldehove in 1962, studied at the Academy for Art and Industry (AKI) in Enschede in the Netherlands. He became famous for his long-term photo projects which have been exhibited in renowned museums and for his illustrated books such as “Metropolis” about life in megacities. He is a two-time winner of the World Press Photo Awards and the Street Photography Awards. Martin Roemers lives and works in the Dutch city of Delft.
Exhibition opening: Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 7.30 p.m. with Martin Roemers
Read more at https://www.hdg.de/
House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany
Willy-Brandt-Allee 14, 53113 Bonn, Germany
May 16, 2018 to August 12, 2018