back to Search


In the field of pictorial representation, Heimrad Bäcker recasts this approach as “documentary photography.” From the late 1960s, he has photographed topographic traces of the Nazi killing machine, primarily at the former Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps. The motifs of these photographic works, often realized as sequences of images, are not the canonized symbols of the Shoah that have emerged from an iconography of genocide since the end of the war. Instead, the photographer’s isolating gaze falls on apparently trivial topographic and architectural traces or on media documentation of the Shoah and related trials on television. But even in his treatment of a familiar motif like the “Todesstiege” (a notorious stone stairway connecting the camp with its granite quarry, the site of many accidents and murders), Bäcker keeps his distance from the usual codes of consternation by his use of increasing abstraction.

T.E., G.K.
  • Artist: Heimrad Bäcker
  • Original Title: Konzentrationslager Mauthausen (Eisenreste im Fundament der Großen Halle)
  • English Title: Mauthausen Concentration Camp (iron remnants in the foundation of the great hall)
  • Year: 1970-1975
  • Material: b&w photograph, mounted on cardboard
  • Dimensions: Original Size: 20 x 30,5 cm (7 7/8 x 12 in.) Framed: 52,5 x 42,5 cm (20 11/16 x 16 3/4 in.)
  • Inventory no.: K032
  • Category: photography
Parts of Work
Browse All