Wiebke Elzel

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Notiz / Note

Exhibition view: For the Birds, Galerie Schütte, Essen, 2010

Inkjetprint, 72,5 × 110,5 cm, framed, 2009


As I sit here at my writing desk, writing, concerned with clear expression, I leaf through a notebook, searching for words, yet out falls a photograph. I hold it in my hand and contemplate the water, the bridge, the sky, the houses on it, and as I contemplate these things I am reminded of the day on which I took this photograph, and I remember how I said to myself then, that I would never succeed in photographing all the bridges in this city and then systematically organize them. And I remember the time before that, in which, completely euphoric, I walked around the city, camera in hand, every day, photographing every bridge I saw. But as I stood on a pier one morning, with a view to the biggest, now sunlit bridge in the city, and raised my camera to photograph it, I suddenly doubted the meaning of my actions. I was overcome with a vague despair,a frightening loneliness, and at times I had the feeling I couldn't stand another second in this city. It became clear to me that I would never succeed in photographing every single bridge. There were too many of them and they looked too much alike. I had no system to organize the photographs of the bridges or the locations in which I took them. Today I ask myself if such a system were even possible. If someone other than I, or I myself in another mental state, could have been capable of developing a system to thoroughly organize the bridges. Today I ask myself if I could have started at the beginning again, methodically and precisely, following a sensible system. But back then, as I was photographing the sunlit bridge before me, and as I was telling myself how beautiful it was, I could only think of how worthless all my photographs were, and I experienced a deep, ever-growing shame, and I wished for nothing more than to disappear. I asked myself if I could cease my activity without giving cause, without justifying myself to anyone other than myself, and I came to the conclusion that this could be so. I could remember no request, no one expected anything from me. I thought about letting my camera fall into the water flowing below me, but I didn't do it