For more than 40 years, the photographer Frédéric Brenner has turned his camera to the diverse forms of Jewish life Diaspora and their representations. In his new photographic essay, ZERHEILT: HEALED TO PIECES, created between 2016 and 2019, he explores Berlin as a stage of various performances of Jewishness. Portraying landscapes and individuals: newcomers, old-timers, converts, immigrants, and others who have made Berlin their home or were just passing through. In the process, he picks apart prevailing ideas and conceptions in order to explore new perspectives and offers a fresh vantage point on issues and people in and around the Jewish-German story.
Brenner does not aspire to comprehensively document the status quo of Jewish life in Germany, let alone put forward a visual definition of contemporary Jewishness. Rather, his images offer fragmentary glimpses of life in this city full of paradoxes, dissonances, gaps, and opposing narratives for grappling with the Nazi past.
Brenner’s photographs depict polyphonic, and at times bizarre and disturbing, impressions of placelessness and estrangement which – as an observation of the human condition at large – extends far beyond Jewish history and the history of Berlin. “I make images to break images,” says Frédéric Brenner, articulating his invitation to viewers to associate their impressions with ever-new stories.
The exhibition was curated by Theresia Ziehe.
The photo essay, with an introduction by Frédéric Brenner and text by Elad Lapidot, was released as a book in August 2021 published by Hatje Cantz Verlag and edited by Oren Myers, it also serves as the exhibition catalogue. The museum edition costs 45 euros (58 euros in bookstores).
Frédéric Brenner : Zerheilt : Healed To Pieces
3 September 2021 to 13 March 2022
Jewish Museum Berlin
Libeskind Building, ground level, Eric F. Ross Gallery
Frédéric Brenner : Zerheilt
Edited by Oren Myers
Texts by Frédéric Brenner, Frédéric Brenner, Elad Lapidot
Design by Julia Wagner, grafikanstalt
168 pp, 142 ills.
330 x 285 mm
€ 58,00 [D], $ 68,00, £ 58,00