August – In the early 1990s, Collier Schorr began working intermittently in southern Germany, compiling a documentary and fictional portrait of a small town inhabited by historical apparitions. Combining the roles of war photographer, traveling portraitist, anthropologist, and family historian, Collier Schorr tells the intertwined stories of a place and time determined by memory, nationalism, war, emigration and family.
August uses Polaroids made by Collier Schorr in Schwabish Gmund and in this period to explore the liminal space of images that were never intended to persist beyond the immediate moment. Looking back some twenty years, August tells the story of the work, but also examines the devices of fabrication, revealing the mistakes made in the attempt to merge contemporary Germans into their past, implicitly exposing the distance between the artist and the subject, and between the subject and the costumes. Aware of the demons and pitfalls of historical authority, Schorr probes the space between identification and critique – A German Boy in a Feather Boa, posed after Lina Wertmuller’s The Night Porter, underscores her interest in the performative history of fetishism and uniform, and how history moves between documentary and fiction, distance and desire.
August is the third volume in a series of books entitled Forests and Fields (Wald und Wiesen), after Neighbours/Nachbarn (2006) and Blumen (2010). Forests and Fields is inherently about bookmaking, a continuous suite of artists’ books that uses traditional notions of category to create different points of view. Each publication is part journal, part annual photo, part palimpsest, and part scrapbook, and involves a process that continually develops and contradicts the artist’s work by re-editing the work to create new views through the material. The books share similar dimensions, but each is conceived as an independent and unique work in itself. The final volume will be text-based, a collection of commissioned and re-edited writings inspired by the ideas explored in the images. A special signed and numbered boxed edition of the complete Forest and Fields set will be available upon completion of the project.
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