Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 12.02. – Sunday, 27.03.1994

Gilles Peress – Farewell to Bosnia

In the spring of 1993, Gilles Peress received a grant from the Fondation de France that made it possible for him to go to Bosnia for six months, to cross the borders of this terrible war and make his way to Mostar, Tuzla, Vitez, and Sarajevo, the city once famous for being multicultural.

On this trip he met refugees and those who stayed behind, he met the wounded and dead; on this trip he encountered destruction. In Bosnia, he was also continuously confronted with his own photography, with his own activity. What am I doing here? What am I photographing here? What is my purpose here? His images do not make a secret of the terror, the murderousness; they rather expose it and denounce it, not as an end in itself, but rather as a question directed at European culture, civilization, and politics, which seem to have failed here and to be collapsing together. Farewell to Bosnia is his bitter, irate commentary: Europe had long given up on Bosnia. Certainly we look at it in horror, and with boredom as well, perhaps even with a certain hidden macabre satisfaction at this never-ending carnage because as long as it’s there… it can’t also be here… 

Gilles Peress is particularly sensitive to eruptions of hate, to the new hoards of nationalism – and is particular driven to make a contribution to exposing and directly confronting this conflict.

The exhibition was curated by Urs Stahel. A cooperation with the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C..