Dancing Souls at Canal Grande

For centuries, day by day, as darkness falls, the same ceremony takes place at Canal Grande. The souls of the founders of Venice meet and start dancing and celebrating the beauty of what they have created with their hands and minds. Out of the muddy waters they built a dream-like city, stone by stone, on millions of wooden piles, which they hit into the swamps.

The dance lasts only a few minutes and one must hurry to catch the delicate moments, when Venice shows his magical essence: Water, light and stones. All of a sudden, here and there, the souls show up as flickering lights, flashing and disappearing.

 

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The Terrorist

On July 22, 2011, the 32-year-old Norwegian Anders Breivik carried out terrorist attacks in the centre of Oslo and on the nearby Island Utøya – which left 77 murdered, mostly young people. The fury of the terrorist was especially aimed against members of the Social Democratic Party, who asked for more tolerance towards Muslims.

Three days after the attack, I arrived in Oslo and the Norwegians were still in a state of shock. All over the city centre one saw the vast damages of the bombs. To my great astonishment I learnt, that the reigning Norwegian King Harald V. and Crown Prince Haakan had attended the same public elementary school as the terrorist Anders Breivik – the “Smestad Skole” in Oslo. In Norway democratic tradition requires that the upper classes, even the royal family, don´t separate from ordinary people.

In the days after my arrival I took pictures of the “Smestad Skole” and also of the nearby building and surrounding affluent area, where Anders Breivik lived. The terrorist was arrested shortly after the attack and on 24 August 2012, a Norwegian court convicted him to 21 years in prison.

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Death of Venice

 

These pictures show an apocalyptic vision. Venice is falling apart, set on fire and flooded. Even the people seem to stem from another place and another age. In the end monstrous pigeons and bizarre human creatures are ruling. In art there is a famous tradition of such visions, best known by the scenarios of the Renaissance artists Hieronymus Bosch or Peter Bruegel the Elder.

I took these pictures after heavy rainfall or acqua alta – they are reflections of the cityscape in puddles: Windows to another world. The eerie colors and shapes are caused by debris, mud, leaves, undercoating, dirt and wind. To show them in the gallery, I turn them upside down. With this tiny trick you see them not as reflections, but as bizarre realities. Fourteen of them will be on show at “Soho Photo Gallery” in New York in December 2017.

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