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The Book Column: Tobias Kruse : Deponie


Deponie is a unsettling book. Oscillating between documentary and formal essay, it retraces Tobias Kruse’s journey across East Germany, in search of the vestiges of the period following the country’s reunification.

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German photographer travelled more than 8,000 kilometres to capture the reminiscences of this painful historical process, which left an indelible mark on the local populations. Although it marked a major political breakthrough and should have offered many opportunities, for many this period did not live up to expectations, generating anger and bitterness.

Tobias Kruse encountered this disappointment, which is still very much with us today, in deserted villages, rugged landscapes, human tides at football stadiums and streets criss-crossed by night-time demonstrations. He has crystallised it in a series of black-and-white pictures, whose unsettling atmosphere is heightened by the weary, worried or defiant gazes of East German youth, as well as the enigmatic views of landscapes, architecture and animals. A nervous silence that is broken only by a few bright red pages.

Deponie is also striking for the formal beauty of his images, which are hard to tear oneself away from. Each shot is a virtuoso interplay between the photographer and the lines or light. Each page responds to the other in a superb dialogue, transforming a slavish fan’s arm into a metallic architecture and reminding us of the power of a page layout.

The whole series devolves into a veritable poem that offers a chance for wounds to heal. Deponie opened with a scattering of birds, and closes with a calm flight towards the horizon.


Tobias Kruse – Deponie
Spector Books, 2022
74 pp, English / German
ISBN: 9783959056724
Edition Number: 1
Available in bookshops and online

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