Short Cuts 05 presents 4 new photobooks. It starts with Michael Ashkin and concludes with portraits of the Hakka.
(1) Michael Ashkin – Were It Not For (Fw:Books, 2019)
T Michael Ashkin works across a range of media – painting, photography, sculpture, video, and text. Uniting these diverse practices is a conceptual focus on the way that notions of space and place, landscape and self, are shaped by wider political and economic forces. were it not for is combining a 670-line text with 218 photographs of the Mojave Desert.
(2) Paula Markert: Eine Reise durch Deutschland. Die Mordserie des NSU (Hartmann Projects, 2019)
The verdict of the five-year NSU (National Socialist Underground) murder trial was announced in Munich in July 2018. The so-called NSU Trial is a milestone in postwar German jurisdiction that deeply challenged the understanding of democracy of all those who were directly and indirectly involved. For eleven years the NSU committed right-wing-extremist-motivated murders in Germany, claiming the lives of ten people.
From fall 2014 to spring 2017 the Hamburg-based documentary photographer Paula Market (*1982) traveled through Germany, following in the footsteps of the NSU and documenting people and places associated with the NSU. Her photos of crime scenes and holiday retreats of the murderers are juxtaposed with portraits of victims, lawyers, and institutions.
Freelens Gallery, Hamburg, Aug. 22–Oct. 31, 2019
Fotodoks Festival, Munich, Oct. 16–Nov. 24, 2019
(3) Rif Spahni: Son Boter.Joan Miró (Ediciones Anómalas, 2019)
Son Boter, a typical rural Mallorcan house dating back to the 18th century, is the oldest of the Fundació’s buildings. It became Joan Miró’s second Mallorcan studio, purchased by the artist in 1959 with the prize money of the New York Guggenheim International Award, given to him for the creation of the Mur du soleil and Mur de la lune for the Paris UNESCO building.
Drawn by the creative force of Son Boter studio, in 2012 Rif Spahni started this project, Photographs, many of insignificant details and objects, but which in the eye of the photographer became instant pictures of past moments when, for a fleeting instant, we once again see Joan Miró working in his studio.
In 2018 he returned to the place to search again for the details, through the footprints and vestiges on the floor of the studio.
(4) Osamu Nakamura: HOME Portraits of the Hakka (Little Man Books, 2019)
Between 2006 and 2008, Osamu Nakamura visited the Fujian region in China to photograph tulou houses – the homes of the local Hakka people and registered as World Heritage site.
Introduced by a local ink-wash painter, Nakamura began to visit different villages and – carrying a Hasselblad medium-format camera – to shoot portraits of the people he encountered.
Having visited the area again in 2019, Nakamura noticed that while the designation as World Heritage site had helped preserve the incredible homes of the Hakka people, the huts that had not been included in the designation were deteriorating, some had even collapsed completely. Further, the tourism – while bringing in money – slowly puts an end to the Hakka people’s way of life.