Centrum Kultury Zamek

Hadas Tapouchi

Israeli artist currently living in Berlin. She works with photography and video. History was always been the center of her work but not as an abstract goal in itself, rather as an instrument to understand her contemporary reality. With the medium photography she is trying to challenge the conventional esthetics that is presented mostly by traditional media.


Fifty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the locations of three thousand forced labour camps in Berlin and its immediate environs were researched and documented in 2001. Between 1939 and 1945 prisoners of war and workers from across Europe were concentrated in Berlin and forced to work in what was the seat of Germany’s munitions industry, for many this proved to be a pre-planned death sentence. In some locations there were several camps beside each other, some had only one barracks, others twenty. There were barracks hemmed in behind barbed wire, some were concealed, some were in basements, some in bars and shops, apartments and old factories. Using an analogue 6x6 camera, Hadas Tapouchi has built on this research to create a photographic topography of the forced labour camps in Berlin, documenting the way their locations transformed and become organic parts of the urban landscape.
After World War II most of the camps were destroyed, converted for different usage or rebuilt. They became cafes, schools, galleries, institutional buildings, parks, museums, sport fields or just open abandoned surfaces. In some cases the locations continued to be used by the same companies who had used them during the war. The concept behind Transforming is to document a process of urban, social transformation and the manner in which an historical catastrophe can become normalized or neutralized. The objective is to encourage observers to integrate their own historical knowledge into an everyday - oriented perspective and sensibilize them to the process of normalization, where experiences of violence are hidden or ignored and eventually re-absorbed and neutralized in everyday life. Transforming also advances an alternative approach to the history of the Nazi-Regime. My photographs are in fact warm, inviting, even discreet and thus stand in contrast to the shocking and ghoulish images known from that period. Everyday life is underlined by the use of colour photography and the occasional inclusion of pedestrians, sometimes even looking at the camera. History is at the centre of Tapouchi’s work but not as an abstract goal in itself, rather as an instrument to understand contemporary reality.