Bruder, Zur Sonne, Zur Freiheit   and the beat goes on

The second part of The Heart of Darkness project is installed in the rooms of a neo-classical mansion on 5th Avenue in New York that houses the Goethe Institute, the premier cultural and educational institution of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach.

The exhibition is a photographic poem that draws a tight parallel between youthful ardor, highlighting New York's Beat Generation poets and activists, and the explosive idealism of Johann Wolfgang Goethe's Geniezeit. It is based on the international worker's anthem "Brothers, to the sun, to freedom" and also addresses the darker side of man's search for meaning, when idealism turns into fanaticism and the voices of dissent become dissonant acts of unmitigated rage and brutality.

Four large color photographs of landscapes of haunting beauty depicting sites if conflict are hung in the center of each wall of the airy and almost square exhibition space in such a way, as to form a symbolic cross. The exhibition visitor finds him/herself in a crucible of becoming. 18 black and white medium size images trace the stages of manhood from boy soldier to adolescent revolutionary to middle-aged prisoner to the premature death of a child of the revolution.

In a loosely woven structure, reminiscent of the poetry of Allen Ginsburg, images from the American Civil War, The Kansas Free Soil Movement, the worker's uprising in East Germany on 17 June 1955, the cultural revolution in China, Khmer Rouge soldiers of Democratic Kampuchea, portraits of Jack Kerouac, Huey P. Newton and drummer boy Jackson are interwoven in a transcendental allegory of why the beat goes on and the drums of war continue today in Palestine, in Afghanistan, on the African continent...

Each segment of The Heart of Darkness project has its own color code. The color code for Bruder, Zur Sonne, Zur Freiheit and the beat goes on is red and golden yellow in reference to the red star of the UDSSR, the red background of the flags of Nazi Germany, Communist China and Vietnam, to blood sacrifice, but also to the color of sunflowers and hay, to the golden light of a summer afternoon and to the glow of youth.

Bettina WitteVeen