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The Europe of silence


When I decided to photograph West Berlin in 1979 I did so because wanted to understand Germany, the country which gave birth to Nazism, a unique phenomenon in history, produced by such a perfectly civilised people. This extraordinary wall captivated me for ten long years. From 1961 onwards, the Wall prevented any erasing of the traces and Berlin became a vast studio where the set gave the present the same reality as the past. Berlin froze the two faces of German civilisation, one of them refined to the extreme, the other monstrous. Then one day, on 9th November 1989 - the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass - the set was dismantled.
After those ten years, I was very curious to see the eastern face of Germany, to travel through this rural land which had barely changed since 1933, to see how the progressive Weimar culture could live alongside Buchenwald.
In 1992, the trip to Poland revealed the region’s enormous economic shortcomings, but above all the immense horror of the human abattoirs of the Third Reich.
As I decided to finish my journey on the Russian- Polish border, I felt that going back in my own footsteps would allow me to pierce the aseptic shell of all-powerful West Germany, along with the seventy years of totalitarian pressure on the other side, the East. The inverted chronology continued; it was only at Verdun in 1997, in a landscape which was even more wounded by the furious battles of the First World War, that I finally understood the coherence of this long story.
Stéphane Duroy


The exhibition consists of 30 colour and black and white prints, under passe-partout, format: 40 x 50 cm, packaged in a suitcase. There is a catalogue accompanying the exhibition.

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