About the power of the waters.
About the power of nature.
Who knows how to defend herself.
Who knows how to regenerate.
With or without humans.
It had been raining for days. Four days before the water level reached its dramatic peak, the European Flood Awareness System sent out the first warnings. These became more precise and at the same time more threatening. However, neither the responsible agencies nor the media reacted adequately.
In the end, the flood claimed more than 180 lives, left thousands of homes devastated, destroyed the infra-structure in the affected areas, and created enormous suffering.
The picture that appeared in the Ahr Valley after the flood was bizarre. The approach over the plateaus gave no hint of the chaos that awaited one in the valley. The transition from the undamaged landscape to the boundless devastation was abrupt and beyond imagination: houses washed away, and empty window and door openings showed the force with which the flood had swept over the people and their belongings. Brown areas with upper edges marked the peak of the water - like written notes of the catastrophe. People dragged buckets of muddied possessions and washed-up garbage out of their homes - shock and bewilder-ment written all over their faces.
In the midst of the chaos, the bizarre sculptures of flotsam pushed together by the flood offered a peculiar orientation. They rose into the sky like memorials. The sculptures made of torn branches, ripped out bushes, trees and the flotsam of civilization stood like witnesses to the catastrophe in the battered landscape. During the clean-up work, further bizarre formations emerged from trash and junk, resembling spontaneous installations. Just as if the catastrophe with its imaginative creations prepared a way for the new beginning.
The changes in the landscape and the bizarre legacies of the flood were captured on camera over a period of nine months. The photographs are silent witnesses to turbulent times in which nature and civilization increasingly collide. They document the climate change that is ever more manifest in Germany. Created from the synthesis of unleashed natural force and human belongings, the flood sculptures in particular show a cruelly beautiful aesthetic in a dystopian landscape.
(images in chronological order)