Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case MB2H, Shelf DR30

The Blue Skies Project – SS – Baubrigaden – Alderney (Kanalinsel) (SS-BB I), 0000700

Photograph
13/09/2017 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Anton Kusters is a Belgian multidisciplinary visual artist who lives and works in Belgium and Tokyo. He studied photography at STUK Leuven and the Academy of Fine Arts, Hasselt. His work has been featured in numerous publications and has been exhibited in Europe, China and Australia. Stemming from a documentary approach, Kusters is interested in the limits of understanding, the difficulties of representing trauma and loss, and the act of commemoration.

For The Blue Skies Project, prompted by his family’s own history, Kusters researched locations of Nazi camps of detention, persecution, forced labour and murder. Travelling to a total of 1,078 locations in Europe, Kusters made three unique 8 x 10 cm Polaroid photographs of the sky as close as possible to each site. These he tagged with the GPS coordinates and the number of deaths estimated at the location. Such stark data combined with this systematic approach make a chilling reference to the catastrophic efficiency of the Nazi’s programme of extermination throughout Europe.

The single Polaroid proposed was made in Alderney, which housed an ‘SS-Baubrigade I’ camp – the only Nazi camp to ever exist on British soil – used to build fortifications on enemy territory. Made on September 13, 2017, the photograph is the last taken during Kusters’ five-year journey, and marks the end of his series.

Kusters’ unique documentary approach is based on his use of a Polaroid camera, known for its immediacy, to create pictures that operate at the border of abstract photography rather than providing a representational image. With this, Kusters challenges the expectations of his audience and questions the capability of the medium as a reliable witness of historical events.


Object details

Category
Object type
TitleThe Blue Skies Project – SS – Baubrigaden – Alderney (Kanalinsel) (SS-BB I), 0000700 (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Polaroid
Brief description
Polaroid by Anton Kusters, 'The Blue Skies Project – SS – Baubrigaden – Alderney (Kanalinsel) (SS-BB I), 0000700', from 'The Blue Skies Project', 2012-2017
Physical description
Polaroid photograph. A large blue circle dominates the picture against a black background. Whispy white areas which look like clouds can be seen in the right side of the blue circle. A series of numbers are stamped at the bottom of the picture.
Dimensions
  • Framed size height: 26cm
  • Framed size width: 25cm
Credit line
Purchase funded by the Photographs Acquisition Group
Summary
Anton Kusters is a Belgian multidisciplinary visual artist who lives and works in Belgium and Tokyo. He studied photography at STUK Leuven and the Academy of Fine Arts, Hasselt. His work has been featured in numerous publications and has been exhibited in Europe, China and Australia. Stemming from a documentary approach, Kusters is interested in the limits of understanding, the difficulties of representing trauma and loss, and the act of commemoration.

For The Blue Skies Project, prompted by his family’s own history, Kusters researched locations of Nazi camps of detention, persecution, forced labour and murder. Travelling to a total of 1,078 locations in Europe, Kusters made three unique 8 x 10 cm Polaroid photographs of the sky as close as possible to each site. These he tagged with the GPS coordinates and the number of deaths estimated at the location. Such stark data combined with this systematic approach make a chilling reference to the catastrophic efficiency of the Nazi’s programme of extermination throughout Europe.

The single Polaroid proposed was made in Alderney, which housed an ‘SS-Baubrigade I’ camp – the only Nazi camp to ever exist on British soil – used to build fortifications on enemy territory. Made on September 13, 2017, the photograph is the last taken during Kusters’ five-year journey, and marks the end of his series.

Kusters’ unique documentary approach is based on his use of a Polaroid camera, known for its immediacy, to create pictures that operate at the border of abstract photography rather than providing a representational image. With this, Kusters challenges the expectations of his audience and questions the capability of the medium as a reliable witness of historical events.
Collection
Accession number
E.793-2019

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest feedback

Record createdNovember 14, 2018
Record URL
Download as: JSON