Artist Edition from photobook dummy
Papier: Design Offset 1,2
Seitenzahl: 80
Auflage: 23
Format: A5
"Present Traces of a Past Existence: A Photographic Research“ reshapes the story of the dutch intellectual Etty Hillesum (Middelburg 01.15.1914 - Auschwitz 11.30.1943), combining archive research and photographic intervention.
Hillesum started a diary on Sunday March 9, 1941, in Amsterdam during German occupation. She began writing diaries on the advice of the psychochirologist Julius Spier (1887-1942), with whom Hillesum had just begun therapy. Taken together, the collected diaries show Hillesum’s deep inner transformation and manifest her keen literary talent.
I began my work with the images at the Hillesum archive in order to explore their materiality. I started thinking of every single document, from pictures to letters and diaries, as visual fragments, thereby beginning to reframe those details through my perspective. Subsequently I shifted my focus from the archive to the outside world. I organized trips to Middelburg, the Netherlands, where Hillesum was born, Deventer, Amsterdam, and to Camp Westerbork, in the northeast of the country where she was interned before being deported to Auschwitz. I tracked down and researched the houses where she had lived and the spaces that may have influenced her perception. In the meantime, I wondered: What happens to a space once it has been inhabited for many years by different people? Could the presence of a previous tenant still be sensed in any way? Is space something architectural, or does it pervade the acts of the subjects themselves? Can a space be bound to the subjectivity of former occupants? My photographic investigation is a dynamic framework within which I explore these questions.
The German texts which accompain the pictures are parts of the hand analysis of Etty Hillesum, made by Julius Spier on 3 February 1941. Dr. Alexandra Nagel analysed the document and gave me permission to use the original scans as visuals too.
It was through Spier that Hillesum started her diary - This photobook intens to establish a dialogue between the form of Hillesum´s diaries (eleven A5 booklets) and her hand analysis.