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Jens Klein
Briefkästen II
Photopaper 57

»For his work »Hundewege— Index eines konspirativen Alltags«, the Leipzig artist Jens Klein sifted through photographs in the Stasi documentation Office and put them together in sequential series. Stripped of their original context, without any indication as to the informer who took the snapshots, the photos reveal, at first glance, the comedy and triviality of the surveillance: the perceived “dissidents” kept watch on with a telephoto lens. However, Klein cuts out the contextual references, the background to the photos being taken, and adopts a different way of reading them. The blurriness of the pictures is the “reality effect,” a residual clue pointing to the secrecy inherent in the production of the photos. Other details of a visible reality are registered in the wobbly pictures, something the artist called “conspiratorial mundane”. The elements of the photographs that remind him of his own childhood and youth—the clothing and movement of the people, the rituals of dog-walking, motor-cyclists—seem to him to be what is truly remarkable, beyond the incriminating gaze that caused them to be taken.«

— Florian Ebner, Head of Cabinet de la Photographie, Centre Pompidou, Paris

The works shown in this edition of PHOTOPAPER are based on photographs from the archive of the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (BStU-Archiv). 

The Berlin based artist Joachim Schmid recommended Jens Klein’s work for this edition of Photopaper. It has 16 pages. Images above showing selected pages.

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