Memory and oblivion in the photos by Vova Pomortzeff

The Eel#2
The Eel: a series of materials and interviews with contemporary artists and authors to discuss the meaning of the Centenary, of memory and oblivion. An attempt to retrace our history and to preserve the tenacity of life like the Eel celebrated by Eugenio Montale (in: La bufera e altro, 1956)

Photography is a multiform language, which bends to the past and to the present, blends them in an unusual mix and mines so the future. So, at least, it’s our impression while observing the works by Vova Pomortzeff. This  talented russian photographer fascinates us with his ability to catch the movement of the time, the flow of the history as well as the ripple of human traditions. He enables so the observer, who is willing to take on Pomortzeff’s eyes, to enter the subtle essence of a living memory of the oblivion – an oblivion, that is in store probably for all of us. And yet this same oblivion is at the same time the life resilience.

These thoughts came to our mind when we first discovered the photo-series, that Vova Pomortzeff devoted to the memory (and the oblivion) of the Great War.

You can find further information and photos on Pomortzeff home page.

Today we recall the short introduction and a couple of photos from the project


German War Memorials
Photographs by Vova Pomortzeff

British or French war memorials are almost taken for granted but there is little known that German war memorials even exist. Although every German town and village has its own memorial and some of them are amazing. German war memorials were erected mainly in the 1930s, when traditions of Jugendstil and modernism were gradually replaced by Nazi aesthetic. Originally they commemorated soldiers fallen in World War I and late were extended to show the names of locals who died in World War II in addition. As a result German war memorials present now an incredible mix of heroic pathos, sincere sorrow, state propaganda, post-war repentance and surprisingly even visible traces of homoeroticism. Russian documentary photographer Vova Pomortzeff spent several months travelling to and fro across Germany to find the most amazing examples of German war memorials. The First World War Centenary provides an excellent opportunity to rediscover this unknown and forgotten cultural phenomenon.

[the photo above is also by Vova Pomortzeff: Memorial to German soldiers fallen in World War I in the town of Ettlingen near Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. This amazing coloured stone relief was carved by German sculptor Oskar Alexander Kiefer and installed on the wall of the town hall in 1923.]



World War I Memorial in the town of Radeburg, Saxony, Germany.


A pigeon flies from the head of the statue in the memorial to German soldiers fallen in World War I in the town of Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. The red stone statue by German sculptor Hermann Hahn from 1924-25 depicts a horse and a muscular nude rider with a spear wearing the Stahlhelm helmet only.