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“If I were a German…”

a project by Boris Mikhailov, Sergej Solonskij, Sergej Bratkov

 

 

You could have seen here a sequence of images out of one of my favorite publications, but now you can´t anymore,

(Try to buy the book)
 

because I was asked by BILDKUNST.DE

to delete the images by

Loretta Lux,
Man Ray,
Valie Export,
August Sander
Lotte Reiniger

and every other artist represented by them or to pay a fee for publishing their images.

 

I am working on this blog for my fun,
and for the enjoyment of people stumbling over my blog.
There is no income generated whatsoever by this site for me.
Most of the images I use here are floating all over the net.

 

I don´t think that I am the source of income losses for the artist,
or anybody else.
Art as part of everyday life,
art easily accessible by everybody without barriers and fees.
Art as part of the free flow of thoughts and
communication.

 

But not in the case of artist represented by Bild-Kunst.

 

 

The jacket text:

“Die Arbeit “Wenn ich ein Deutscher wäre…” basiert
auf Interviews, die die Künstler mit denen führten,
die sich an die Zeit der deutschen Okkupation ihrer
Heimat während des Zweiten Weltkriegs noch
erinnern können.”

“The project “If I were a German…” is based upon
interviews lead by the artist with those
who still can remember the times of German occupation
of their home country during World War II.”





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“We don´t love fascists.
We love the German people.”

Boris Jelzin on the occasion of a visit in Berlin.

This project is dedicated to the withdrawal
of the Russian troops from Germany.



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“If I were a German,
would I then take girls
for a ride
on my bike?”



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If I were a German
would I then make friends
with female partisans?



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Oh, if I were a German…



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Living on the knees
(dedicated to the years of occupation)



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Living on the knees II



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“Fear not, I won´t reveal
the secret…” (J.W.Goethe)



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If I were a German
I would have learned by heart
the classical verses:
“Fear not, I won´t reveal
the secret…” .



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“When in the exorbitance of nature…”
(J.W Goethe)



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From the “Triology of Passion”
(J.W Goethe)



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If I was a German,
would I be a good father?
(Boy or girl)



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How strange,
none of her family
became a victim of the war.



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Flower as if after Dürer.



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Sweet secret
(dedicated to the treaty between Molotow
and Ribentropp)
Unexpectedly women of three nationalities
stayed in the garden:
A Russian, a Jewess, a German.



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Spiritual photography
or
Life without balls.



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“Serjoscha. listen…”



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The grandfather of Sergej Bratkov is
German.
The grandmother of Sergej Solonskij is
German.
The mother of Boris Mikhalov is
Jewish.



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“Serjoscha, listen, Boris feels sick!”



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Her father was an officer of the
occupation forces.
She grew up together with
the German children.



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If I were a German,
I would wash the feet of a Jewess.



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Jewess after the ablution.



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Gamble of the parties involved.(I)



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Gamble of the parties involved.(II)



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Meeting at the Elbe:
You might feed the wulf as much as you want:
the one of the elephant still remains bigger. (I)



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Meeting at the Elbe:
You might feed the wulf as much as you want:
the one of the elephant still remains bigger. (II)



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Last days in the life of Goethe.



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At his sick bed.



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“You serve, and we wait for you…”
(After a Russian lullaby.)



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If I were a German,
they would have tiptoed in front of me.



Boris Mikhailov creates images that wouldn´t exist without him,
he deals with reality without copying it, coming closer to it´s essence
than almost any of us working with photography.

He remains creative, and productive up to this day,
an intelligent and deeply compassionate man.

“If I were a German”
was published 1995 in form of a little booklet,
one of my dearest possessions.

Since I can remember,
German politicians practice a ritualized form of exculpation,
concerning the German historical crimes.

This is called “Vergangenheitsbewältigung.”

The ugliness and mendaciousness of this word is hard to translate,
it is supposed to mean: coming to terms with our past.

(There is no way to come to terms with this past.
It is shameful and has to stay that way.)

Most of the time this so called “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”
is merely an empty ritual.

(But better an empty ritual, than no commemoration at all.)

Boris Mikhailov´s, Sergej Solonskij´s, and Sergej Bratkov´s
project essentially deals with the very human feeling of deep shame.

(I am ashamed of the state of mind,
and the sort of normality that turned us Germans
into amazingly efficient mass murderers during WWII.)

(Where was J.W. Goethe?)

“If I were a German” also refers to the fact, that in times,
when inhumanity is part of everyday normality,
hardly anybody will stay free of guilt.

In Imre Kertész´ books the relationship of actor and victim
is problematized. The good guys and the bad ones,
sometimes they change positions. It´s only a chance moment,
that turns you into an actor or makes you his victim.

This doesn´t diminish the shame I felt,
when, as a youth, I visited Israel.

This part of German history
we shouldn’t come to terms with.

Our shame shall stay.

(It´s not about morals,
it´s about a feeling, stupid…)