Auschwitz – Ultima Ratio of the Modern Age / 2017

Typological analysis of one-storey buildings / KZ Auschwitz and Birkenau
According to a duo of photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, the form of the industrial construction is determined only by its function. The designing logic of the architecture in the concentration camp Auschwitz was, that the forms of the buildings were absolutely subordinated to their function as instruments of the industrial genocide. So, this architecture is a pure realization of Louis Sullivans principle of the modern: „form follows function“. In this context Zygmunt Bauman also pointed out that „the modern civilization [...] certainly was not the only one, but was probably a necessary precondition for the Holocaust“ (Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and The Holocaust).
The typological examination of the buildings and the objects in this photographic cycle should enable the spectator to compare rationalization methods in an architecture designed for efficient mass killing. To avoid the narrative character and to show the „things as they are” (Susan Sonntag), the images have been made within similar and constant lighting conditions. All photographs were taken on the 4x5 inch b&w negativs.

Exhibition content: 18 or 27 or in full 70 baryt prints in format of 35x44cm.

Hot air desinfection chamber for the prisoners uniforms in the so-called Sauna Building / KZ Birkenau
Destroyed building of crematorium III and gas chambers / KZ Birkenau
Water reservoir build at the request of Allianz, the insurance company of the camp, which was also used as a swimming pool / KZ Auschwitz
Water tank for the camp kitchen / KZ Birkenau
Water treatment / KZ Birkenau
Freight and cattle truck / KZ Birkenau
The so-called Path of Death, which led directly from the ramp to the gas chambers / KZ Birkenau