Dem Deutschen Volke



In her photography Eva Gjaltema has always sought for a combination, by and large, between her own life and an archive of collected images; so it was a natural step for her, after moving to Germany in connection with her pregnancy, to produce a series of images in which these themes recur. The images seem confrontational, probably because – especially in their combination of text and image – they are reminiscent of earlier collage works about Germany. But with closer inspection you’re more likely to ascertain that they are images in which doubt resounds, and again if you consider the chosen title: Dem Deutschen Volke, Aan het Duitse volk (To the German people) …

In a discoloured photo of a pregnant woman – whose face is symbolically substituted with a reference to motherhood: nursing – a vista has been created, within the form of her shadow, in which we recognise the German Reichstag building. Albeit, not the revamped and renovated symbol of the German unification, but the bullet riddled building that remained standing in the devastation of Berlin at the end of the war. Critical? Yes, that too, but also wry: it is an image that is just as much about Fernweh (wanderlust) as it is about Heimweh (homesickness), the fate in fact of every emigrant: you look forward to the new, whilst simultaneously having significant doubts about both what you leave behind and what is up ahead. Just as is also brought about by motherhood. Just as it is when you find yourself between two generations, both mother and child, at one moment. Between the history and future of Germany. It is an image that through several interpretative aspects represents what it is to stand between the past and present.


Anthon Fasel

(vert. Rosie Heinrich)



Eva Gjaltema