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Culture of Memory

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The fourth 2015 Forum exhibition features Anniversaries by Berlin photographer Marc Beckmann. Beckmann launched this longterm project in 2004 to cast a spotlight on public commemorations in Germany, Europe and throughout the world (on view through 22 November, 2015).

Beckmann has photographed the anniversaries of historical events such as the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, the Prague Spring, D-Day and the Srebrenica massacre, to name but a few. On occasion, these days of collective remembrance serve as a stark reminder not to repeat the same mistakes as in the past, at other times they are charged with patriotic feeling. These commemorations provide nations, religious groups and professions with the opportunity to gain greater public visibility and debate their respective interpretations of history.

In this work, Beckmann transcends both national and temporal boundaries. Some of the events he covers – such as the Arab Spring in Egypt – are but a few years old, while others occurred so long ago that no witnesses of those times remain alive today.

Anniversaries examines the ways in which history is recounted, enacted and collectively
remembered. These memorial days that Marc Beckmann’s photography singles out are often very high-profile events, with huge media coverage. Yet, while the focus of official media reports tends to fall on great statesmen and women or the huge crowds flocking to the commemorations, Beckmann’s photographs home in on what is happening on the fringes of these mass events – the tranquil moments when individuals take time out and step back from what is happening in the wider group.

Marc Beckmann was born in Peru in 1978 and grew up in Germany. He now lives and works in Berlin. He completed his studies in photography in 2006 at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, where he was taught by Professor Roman Bezjak. He is a member of the Ostkreuz photography agency and works as a freelance photographer for magazines including Stern, Geo, Du, Brigitte and Neon. His work has been shown at various exhibitions and festivals. His Anniversaries project won the “C/O Talents Award”.

Please find more information at Stadtmuseum

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