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Dirk Reinartz

Dirk Reinartz photographically catalogued the monuments to Bismarck that were erected one hundred years ago all over the German Reich. In the course of time, they have taken on something like a patina of individuality: one has been eaten away by toxic chemicals and gases, another almost overgrown by shrubbery, and a third is covered with 1980s graffiti. All of the monuments were obviously designed according to a coherent scheme. Christian Graf von Krockow describes it thus in his essay: “The right or left leg is set in front, bare-headed or more often with spiked helmet, in a soldier’s tunic or coat ... Always in military dress, always with boots and saber, always the statesman in uniform.”

The military accouterments are no accident: after all, Bismarck created the German nation with “blood and iron.” And in doing so he awakened a brand of nationalism in Germany that was intoxicated with power and strength while dismissing civil and human rights as empty phrases.

However, as Krockow shows in his text for the book, the true danger of the nationalism that the monuments embody only unfolded under Bismarck’s successors. He himself, despite everything, still thought in pan-European terms, trying to achieve an equilibrium between the alliances. His successors ceased to heed that goal, dreaming of world domination. And ended up putting not only Germany at risk.
Press text – Steidl Verlag, Göttingen

each Silvergelatine-Print, 24 x 16,5 cm (30 x 24 cm)