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“Eser” is Turkish and means “work / creation”. On one of Judith Raum’s journeys along the Baghdad Railway, during conversation a Turkish gardener used the word “eser” – not, however, in order to describe the historical infrastructural achievement of German engineers, but the essence of a tree.
“eser” is the fifth exhibition as part of the series “Einzelausstellung: Nicht alleine” ( solo exhibition: not alone ), and shows various chapters of Judith Raum’s artistic research, which she has been conducting on German economic colonialism in the Ottoman Empire since 2009. The starting point of her comprehensive research is the situation of the domestic weavers in Upper Franconia at the end of the 19th century. Starting from an examination of this extremely precarious entrepreneurship, the artist pursues the threads of former trade networks and geostrategic interests, drawing on the example of the building of the Anatolian Railway and of the Baghdad Railway from 1888 onwards. The major infrastructural project was funded by Deutsche Bank and built with German know-how. The financiers’ primary concern was the railway’s profitability. Accordingly, besides the railway’s construction their interest was turned towards tapping into raw materials sources and markets for German products – besides machines, the cloths manufactured in Upper Franconia, for example. However, Anatolia’s agricultural modernization was also drawn into the company’s focus.

In her exhibition, Judith Raum combines sources from the Historical Archive of Deutsche Bank on German agricultural engagement in Anatolia and on employment conditions at the railway with her subjective look at the present situation along the rail route in Anatolia. Places and projects that are mentioned in historical correspondence and photographs determine the routes along which Judith Raum travels through the Anatolian landscape by train.

Curated by Susanne Weiß.

Exhibition from May 16 until August 3, 2014

Opening: Friday, May 16 / 7 p.m.
June 28th there will be a talk between Sabeth Buchmann and Judith Raum at the exhibition.

Heidelberger Kunstverein 

Address | Hauptstraße 97 D-69117 Heidelberg

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