Waffenruhe.
(Ceasefire).

Photographs by Michael Schmidt. Text by Janos Frecot, Einar Schleef, Karin Schmidt, and Thomas Weski.
Walther Koenig, Köln, Germany, 2018. In English. 82 pp., 39 black-and-white illustrations, 10½x11¾".

Publisher's Description

'Like much of Michael Schmidt’s work, Waffenruhe (Ceasefire) is about Berlin. As Janos Frecot writes, Waffenruhe is a cri de coeur that could have emanated only from a Berliner. More than any other European city, Berlin has felt the full weight of twentieth-century history, and it is this sense that pervades the Schmidt’s book. Its very title— ‘Ceasefire,’ or literally, ‘fighting place’ — implies and uneasy dichotomy, a state of temporal stasis that sums up the sense of unreality that pervaded the city, a place locked in time around 1945, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The tone of Waffenruhe echoes this history. It is gloomily romantic, autumnal, dark.' — Martin Parr and Gerry Badger The Photobook: A History. Volume II

'In contrast to his deliberately sober but not distanced shots of his previous series, Schmidt in Waffenruhe with atmospheric condensed, cut and contrasty black and white shots of urban landscapes, natural details and portraits draws a subjective, leaden image of the still divided city. His technique no longer follows the means of pure documentation, but formulates the dystopian attitude to life of a generation shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall in surprising pictorial contexts. Schmidt develops a world of breaks and gaps that makes every claim to a sovereign overview. In the interplay with the text by Einar Schleef, who is about a man left by his wife, who sits in the empty house together with a rabbit after the separation, It creates a gruff and completely personal view of the fragility of human existence. The first edition, published by the Berlin publishing house Dirk Nishen in 1987, was quickly sold out and today achieves high prices on the antiquarian market. After 30 years, Waffenruhe is now reissued and the artist's book, which is regularly included in the lists of major photo books of all time, made available again and accessible.' — Walther Koenig

 


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