Stephan Schenk

With 14 photos of World War One battlefields by Stephan Schenk and text by Klaus Merz, 40 x 29.5 cm, 72 pages, bound.
Hand prints by Madlaina Campell and Stephan Schenk, Lüen, on ADOX MCC 110 silver gelatin Baryta paper. The text by Klause Merz is based on a story entitled "Im Schläfengebiet" (In the Temple Area" from a volume of prose called "Am Fuss des Kamels" (At the Foot of the Camel), Haymon-TB, Innsbruck 2010. Hot metal typesetting from Monotype Helvetica 12° printed on a hand press on BFK Rives, at Offizin Parnassia Vättis. Typography by Ramun Spescha, Chur. The hand binding was performed in Atelier für Grafik-, Foto- und Schriftgutrestaurierung Michael Rothe, Bern.
This run comprises 25 numbered copies. Five additional not-for-sale artist's copies have the numbers EA I-V. In connection with the artist's book an edition was published.

The Way of the Cross (Kreuzweg), which was created over the past three years, is based on 14 photos of the largest battlefields of World War One in Europe and overseas. Schenk purposely narrows his scope and limits himself to a small snippet of the ground the size of a soldier's grave. With this fragmented perception of reality, he denies himself and the beholder the ability to have a clear overview and empathises the irrational, inconceivable dimension of the events. Consequently, Schenk also questions the objectivity of photography as a deceptive medium: He weaves his pictures into monumental tapestries and thus utilises age-old forms of visual representation. Fotostiftung Schweiz

The people that experienced World War One, but also their direct descendants, are now mostly deceased. A personified memory is therefore hardly possible any more, and yet this war remains a defining event for the 20th century, which however is hardly present any more for today's generation.
Stories, pictures and personal documents bear and define our memory – like the photographs and military pay book of my grandfather. The Way of the Cross project seeks to contribute to remembrance of this pointless and inhuman war. The German term Kreuzweg (The Way of the Cross) is thus given multiple meanings:
  • – different options may be chosen for a decision important for the future.
  • – the martyrdom of Christ's bearing of the cross.
  • – the location where the dead were buried which was considered eerie in folklore from the time before Christ.
  • – and not least, the crosses at the military cemeteries scattered along the former battlefields.
Stephan Schenk