Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eva Leitolf- Postcards from Europe

 Rostrogordo Picnic Park, Spanish-Moroccan Border, Melilla 2006

Melilla on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast has been held by Spain since 1497. Immediately upon independence from Spain in 1956 Morocco asserted its claim to Melilla and the second Spanish exclave, Ceuta. In 1999 the European Union funded an upgrade of the 12-kilometre border defences to stop undocumented immigration. Two parallel fences up to six metres high are topped with rolls of razor wire and monitored by movement sensors, infrared cameras and watchtowers.Der Tagesspiegel, 24 June 2008;, 28 August 2000
From the series Eva Leitolf, Postcards from Europe, c-print, 81 x 69 cm, ed. 6+1

I have posted on Eva Leitolf before, so it should be no surprise that I am a huge fan of her work. Postcards from Europe is her latest- and it does not disappoint. This time she revisits specific locations dealing with incidents concerning immigration in Europe. Once again, she follows her previous formula of photographing unoccupied landscapes while supplying detailed descriptions of what occurred there. And once again, her beautifully minimalist scenics eerily manage to resonate with how those problems reverberate in our present day world. Fascinating stuff!

 Farm of the Marchese di Cassibile, Cassibile, Italy 2010

On 16 June 2006 staff of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) dismantled their kitchen and sanitation tents on land owned by the Marchese di Cassibile in order to follow the itinerant workers – who had spent two months harvesting potatoes here – to the tomato harvest in Foggia. According to MSF, before it intervened the mostly undocumented harvest workers lived without running water, toilets or electricity under plastic sheeting, in abandoned houses in the area, or in the abandoned farm. Between April and June 2006, MSF arranged 339 medical appointments, diagnosing mainly illnesses caused by the harsh living and working conditions: respiratory complaints, gastro-intestinal problems, skin infections and muscle injuries. A spokesperson for the organisation said that MSF had been working in Cassibile since 2003 and hoped every year that the local authorities would assume the responsibility and make their intervention superfluous. In the report I frutti dell’ipocrisia: Storie di chi l’agricoltura la fa: Di nascosto, MSF estimates that 15,000 seasonal workers come to Sicily every year.  MSF report of 16 June 2006 ( 
From the series Eva Leitolf, Postcards from Europe, c-print, 81 x 69 cm, ed. 6+1

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