Who is Laurenz Berges?
The photographer Laurenz Berges originated from Cloppenburg in Germany. He received his training at the Folkwangschule in Essen. His work has always been shrouded by cultural undertones and connotations that are deeply rooted in the Second World War and the impact it had in society.
Berges, like many other German artists of his day, has created a reputation for himself for creating art pieces and works that are characterized by politics and political decisions. In particular, his pieces often seek to examine why the government makes the choices that it does, as well as examine how these choices and decisions impact the future of society.
Having studied under renowned master Bernd Becher during his time at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Berges is known for applying different aspects of humanity and death in his works, and his Cloppenburg series was no different.
Between 1989 and 1990, Berges created Cloppenburg, a collection of pictures that were taken in the artist’s home town. The photos were made up of images of the cloudy and sleepy German city. Between pictures of lush planes and bricked buildings, the artist also made sure to add a touch a color, which consequently made the otherwise sleepy town appear a little more colorful.
The project consists of beautifully distinctive and moody photographs. Each of the photographs, captured more than 30 years ago, is characterized by an air of misery and grief. When looked at by a complete stranger, the pictures of Berges’ hometown almost appear like non-places that do not exist, and yet, the audience cannot help but feel connected to Cloppenberg as there is also a certain familiarity to them.
Berges’ Cloppenburg series was created to celebrate and share the stories of the various victims that found themselves in an array of barracks in such areas as Schönwalde, Wünsdorf, and other places during the World War. Thanks to this project, their experiences were made accessible by Berges’ pictures, which therefore allowed the audience to remember their place in history.
At a time when the photographic medium today seems threatened by digital technologies that are introduced on a daily basis, Berges’ project is vital for challenging the audience’s idea and understanding of time and place.