Photographs by Rosemarie Zens. Text by Wolfgang Zurborn & Rosemarie Zens.
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2012. 96 pp., 43 color illustrations, 9¼x11¾".
These photographs by Rosemarie Zens, a crossover-artist who works in
both photography and literature, are testimonies to the legendary Route 66
and our collective 1960s way of life.
Over 40 years ago, Zens followed the siren call of freedom on the road. She then retraced her journey in 2010, witnessing how the highway had in the meantime been transformed into a kind of museum. Out of a mixture of private memories and allusions to social ideologies and media myths, the photographer has developed a unique pictorial language. What interests her most is how the myths of the road can be related – from image to reflection to image – to create an absurdist, almost surreal and yet contemplative perspective.
From the very beginning the artist is confronted with the question: is it possible to subvert a myth without ironically breaking it, to modify it with one’s own insertions? This myth – long an element of our collective memory – holds in our subconscious the images from John Steinbeck’s socially critical novel „The Grapes of Wrath“ (1939) woven together into the all-American going on the road – there’s always something to find that is better, there is something new down the road, around the bend.